This Article is From Mar 24, 2023

Explained: How Nithyananda's Kailasa Conned US Cities And What He Aims To Gain

Nithyananda's fake country Kailasa signed sister city agreements with 30 American cities, stunning the world.

Explained: How Nithyananda's Kailasa Conned US Cities And What He Aims To Gain

Kailasa's representatives with Newark officials during the signing of sister city agreement.

The officials of United States of Kailasa, a so-called country formed by controversial godman Nithyananda, stunned the world when they appeared before the cameras along with Newark mayor Ras Baraka with a sister city agreement. The agreement signed in January this year was scrapped by Newark later, but not before the US city became a global laughing stock. It later emerged that the fake country conned not one or two, but 30 American cities with similar agreements in the name of "cultural partnership".

Also Read | Where Is 'Kailasa'? Is It A Recognised Country? All You Need To Know

The problem with the agreement was that Kailasa, named after the abode of Lord Shiva and considered sacred by Hindus, isn't a place at all. Thought to have been established at an island off Ecuador, there are no photos of the country. It is being projected as a borderless nations by it so-called envoys, who serve Nithyananda. Appearing at a United Nations meeting last month, one of their envoys made an appeal to protect the self-styled godman.

How did Kailasa manage to con so many US cities?

Newark said it was duped into signing an official agreement and Kailasa happily promoted the victory on social media. The agreement was dissolved in just six days but went unnoticed till March.

Kailasa has been doing this for years, scamming local, state and national governments into signing unofficial proclamations, like the sister city agreement. According to a Fox News report, such proclamations are not an endorsement but a response to the request, as per US cities. Mayors of a few cities also took responsibility for the error, saying they did not verify the information in the request.

Nithyananda's followers also used the same provision on the UN website to register for the meeting of its committee and speak at the forum on February 24. The UN later refused to put the remarks on record.

However, a Kailasa spokesperson said in a video posted on Twitter that they haven't deceived anyone, "nor are we fake", as the sister-city story gained attention.

Is Newark the only US city to sign the sister city agreement?

No. According to Kailasa's website, there are over 30 American cities that have signed a cultural partnership with the fake nation. These are Richmond, Virginia, Dayton, Ohio, Buena Park and Florida, according to Fox News.

But officials of most of these cities said these proclamations are not true.

Fox News also said that it's not just mayors or city councils but "people running the federal government" who are falling for the fake nation too.

It added that according to Nithyananda, two members of the Congress have given Kailasa "special congressional recognition". One of them is Congresswoman Norma Torres of California, who is on the House Appropriations Committee.

What will Nithyananda gain with such agreements?

A New York Post report said that a sister city status bring credibility to what some people view as a cult.

"Most likely, he wants to raise his profile in the United States to recruit people," cult deprogrammer Rick Alan Ross told the Post. "And if there is money involved, he is interested."

The outlet also spoke to a politician in Newark, who said there may have been no cash exchanged but meals and hotels could have been paid for. "That is an international crime, committed on our grounds. We need to understand what motivated the decision (by Newark officials) to make USK a sister city, what made them stop it and if there were any liabilities."