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How Nithyananda's 'Kailasa' duped 30 US cities with ‘sister city’ scam

Over 30 American cities signed agreements with Kailasa - the fictional country invented by self-proclaimed godman Nithyananda.

March 20, 2023 / 08:37 AM IST
Self-styled godman and fugitive Nithyananda (Image: Twitter/@SriNithyananda)

Self-styled godman and fugitive Nithyananda (Image: Twitter/@SriNithyananda)

Nithyananda's 'country' Kailasa duped over 30 American cities into signing a “cultural partnership” with it, a Fox News report has revealed. The report came days after Newark in the state of New Jersey admitted it was conned into becoming a "Sister City" with the fake nation of Kailasa.

The sister-city agreement between Newark and the fake ‘United States of Kailasa’ was inked on January 12 this year. “Newark thought Kailasa was a Hindu nation just off the coast of Ecuador. No one in the entire Newark government thought to themselves, ‘There's a Hindu island off the coast of South America?’” Fox News host Jesse Watters said while reacting to the scam.

Besides Newark, cities like Richmond, Dayton and Buena Park have all signed agreements with Kailasa. Fox News said that it reached out to some of the cities in the US for a reaction on signing an agreement with the fake nation. Most of the cities confirmed the proclamations were true.

Jacksonville in North Carolina, for example, told Fox News: "Our proclamations with Kailasa are not an endorsement. They are a response to a request and we do not verify the information that is requested."

Nithyananda is the main accused in several cases in India, including rape, torture, kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). He is also being reportedly investigated by French authorities for an alleged fraud of $400,000.

The self-proclaimed godman fled India in 2019.

Earlier this month, Press Secretary in the Department of Communications, City of Newark, Susan Garofalo had told PTI in an email that as soon as "we learned about the circumstances surrounding Kailasa, the City of Newark immediately took action and rescinded the sister city agreement" on January 18.

"Based on deception, the ceremony was groundless and void...Although this was a regrettable incident, the City of Newark remains committed to partnering with people from diverse cultures in order to enrich each other with connectivity, support, and mutual respect," Garofalo said.

Newark and other US cities have been slammed by American media for not doing proper research before entering an agreement with a fictional nation.

But it’s not just state governments and city councils that have fallen for Kailasa’s sister city scam -- "people running the federal government" also believe the fictional island exists.

According to the Fox News report, two members of the Congress have given Kailasa "special congressional recognition."

(With inputs from PTI)

Moneycontrol News
first published: Mar 18, 2023 07:36 am