Hindu Monastery Faces Eviction - HAF Files Amicus Brief Supporting Saraswati Mandir
Washington DC (December 21, 2007) - Monks from a Hindu Ashram (monastery) in New Hampshire are under the imminent threat of eviction today amidst allegations of fraudulent lending practices by a Virginia based lender, G&G, LLC. Eviction proceedings were initiated against the Saraswati Mandiram, a New Hampshire based Hindu Ashram situated on a one hundred acre tract of land north of Boston, and the ashram's resident head priest, Pandit Ramadheen Ramsamooj, over a year ago. Pandit Ramsamooj has argued that G&G breached its contract with the ashram by violating and failing to abide by the terms of their mortgage agreement. The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) joined the legal effort on the ashram's behalf today submitting an amicus curiae brief to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire where the case is to be heard early next year.
"Saraswati Mandiram is a tranquil, spiritual retreat that we have nurtured with love and dedication, and now all of that stands to be destroyed because of predatory and illegal lending practices," said Pandit Ramsamooj speaking from his besieged ashram. "It is difficult to comprehend the real motivation of those that would threaten such action in the midst of a blessed holiday season."
The ashram has argued that G&G agreed to maintain control of a credit line extended to the ashram and withdraw from it the ashram's monthly mortgage payments as they came due. It is alleged that G&G, LLC inexplicably ceased drawing payments and then claimed the ashram to be in default. The default followed quickly to foreclosure. The ashram also alleged fraud and misconduct at the foreclosure where G&G, LLC recorded a deed conveying the property to a fictitious bidder , G&G Epping, LLC, which was not in existence until two months after the foreclosure sale.
The HAF intervened as a friend of the court to provide the court background information on Hinduism and the role of ashrams and the significance of temple worship to Hindu practice. Saraswati Mandiram serves Hindu Americans in the tri-state area of New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine as well as from neighboring Massachusetts. The fourteen page brief argues that a "Hindu monastery or ashram is a spiritual sanctuary that plays a central role in the practice or preservation of Hinduism," and was submitted to the New Hampshire Supreme Court last week.
"Especially in light of the problems in the mortgage industry today, alleged fraudulent lending practices imposed on a house of worship is compelling," said Suhag Shukla, Esq., the Foundation's legal counsel. "We hope sincerely that the court will take into account the severe repercussions that the loss of the only Hindu institution in the tri-state area would have on thousands of Hindus residing in the area. This issue should be of grave and urgent concern to all Americans."