Hare Krishnas lose legal battle against McDonald's in Mauritius

By Sean Carey

The on-going legal battle between the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and McDonald’s over the right to sell hamburgers at the Jumbo Phoenix shopping mall in Vacoas, Mauritius, a site opposite the organization’s temple, highlighted in a previous post has taken a new turn.

The interim injunction in force since 26 February 2013 prohibiting the sale of beef products by McDonald’s was lifted on 27 March. Judge Prithviraj Fecknah was persuaded by members of McDonald’s legal team that the beliefs of religiously observant Hindus on the Indian Ocean island, the descendants of indentured labourers, about the protected status of the cow cannot trump the interests of an international fast food business.

Nevertheless, last Friday lawyers representing ISCKON, including Rama Valayden, a former Mauritian Attorney General, submitted new legal arguments to the Supreme Court, which will be heard on 18 April.

Meanwhile, last Wednesday the festival of Holi was celebrated by Hindus in residential areas (see video below), including at the Holyrood football stadium in Vacoas. Somduth Dulthumun, President of the Mauritian Sanatan Dharma Temples Federation, who has backed ISCKON in its dispute with McDonald’s, told the crowd: “We must live as one family forgetting and differences. Every Hindu has obligations to his religion. Nothing is free in life, and you have to make sacrifices to promote your religion.”

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