The Indian Express: After the Western Railway cancelled permission for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) stalls at stations after they were found selling books in addition to displaying them, Central Railway officials on Thursday said they too would review permission granted to ISKCON stalls after similar violations were brought to their notice.
ISKCON Juhu had sought permission for display of books at CSTM, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli, Bhandup, Mulund, Thane, Dombivali, Kalyan and Chembur stations from December 1 to December 31 2013. Another request for display of books was granted at Parel, Sion, Vidyavihar, Kanjurmarg, Guru Tek Bahadur Nagar, Diwa, Ulhasnagar, Vithalwadi and Badlapur stations for the same period. The Railways had granted permission for display of books, and not for sale or donation.
However, on Thursday, disciples at Ghatkopar and CST stations were found selling books at their stalls. They cited cost of printing and donations as the reason behind collecting money. While English versions of Bhagvad Gita were being sold for Rs 120 a copy, Hindi and Marathi versions were priced at Rs 100. When pointed out that the letter of permission clearly said "no sale" and "no donation", representatives said they had been doing it for years and there was never an objection to it. They claimed they had asked for money from those who could afford it, adding that they had given many books for free too.
Parijata Devi from ISKCON communications said that the books were being sold at a discounted price to mark Gita Jayanti. "We are collecting the money to cover the printing cost. During Gita Jayanti, we go to different public places to create awareness about Gita and sell books to those interested. If the Railways has a concern regarding the sale of books, we will ensure we only display them and direct people to go to the temple if they want to buy the books," she said.
When contacted, Atul Rane, Chief Public Relations Officer, CR, said, "The permission given to ISKCON is only for free display of books, and not for sale or collecting donation. We will review the permission in case of violations."
Western Railway had cancelled the permission given to ISKCON for putting up stalls after similar violations were found at railway stations recently, said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager.