Officials in Newark, New Jersey, rescinded a sister-city agreement with the so-called ‘United States of Kailasa’, founded by a fugitive who fled India and has remained in hiding since 2019, when one of his female disciples accused him of sexual assault and charges of rape and abduction were filed in Indian courts.
Newark officials signed a cultural trade agreement to become sister cities with the United States of Kailasa in January, and only recently discovered that that ‘sister city’ technically does not exist.
Earlier this year, Mayor Ras Baraka invited what he thought was a Hindu nation to Newark’s City Hall for a cultural trade agreement, but it turns out United States of Kailasa is a fake.
Arunachalam Rajasekaran, known among followers as Nithyananda, is a Hindu guru, godman and cult leader who founded Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, a trust that owns temples, gurukulas, and ashrams in many countries.
While on bail, in 2019, he fled to India and established the United States of Kailasa, which he claimed is a Hindu nation with its own flag, passport, and even a central bank system.
The sister-city agreement between Newark and the United States of Kailasa was entered into on January 12, when a signing ceremony took place at City Hall.
Newark City Hall insists no money was exchanged in this deal to become sister cities. The mayor’s office claimed that based on the deception, the ceremony was null and void.
Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, a religious organization founded by Nithyananda, hosts cultural events in United States as well as India.
Susan Garofalo, the City of Newark’s deputy communications director, said that as soon as “we learned about the circumstances surrounding Kailasa, the City of Newark immediately took action and rescinded the sister city agreement.”
“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 Councilma Luis Quintana sponsored the motion to rescind the agreement.
“We cannot bring Sister Cities International into an issue where there is controversy. This is an oversight, and cannot happen any longer,” said Quintana, adding that in the future, any partner entering into a sister city agreement “has to be in good standards of human rights.”
“Whose job was it to do a simple Google search? No one in City Hall, not one person did a Google search, so maybe we need a transformation of City Hall ’cause not one person said, let me go and Google and figure out this was a fake city,” Newark resident Shakee Merritt said.
“Very embarrassing for the city,” Newark resident Jacob Rosario said.
“I truly don’t even have words for it,” Newark resident Atiyah Harris said.
“I’m really sorry for the city that they got duped in that way,” Newark resident Amaris Mitchell said.
Though it has a detailed website, “Kailasa” has no real government.
It’s the brainchild of Swami Nithyananda, a notorious scam artist and fugitive from India who has been on the run from rape charges since 2019.
Nithyananda has made several pseudoscientific claims, including that he delayed the sunrise for 40 minutes, that he could make cattle speak in Tamil and Sanskrit, and that he could disprove the correctness of the mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2.