Newark, NJ admits it got scammed by a fake nation led by fugitive
⚪ Newark has rescinded a "sister-city" agreement after discovering the nation is fake
⚪ The United States of Kailasa was founded by an Indian fugitive facing rape charges
⚪ Its leader, a self-proclaimed godman, claims he is targeted for trying to save Hindus
NEWARK — The largest city in New Jersey is admitting that its officials fell for a hoax to become a "sister city" with an Indian nation that doesn't actually exist.
At a signing ceremony on Jan. 12, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka celebrated the city's new relationship with the United States of Kailasa. The cultural agreement officially made Newark and Kailasa global partners under Sister Cities International, a nonprofit organization founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
"I pray that our relationship helps us to understand cultural, social, and political development and improves the lives of everybody in both places," Baraka said. "We have sister cities with many cities all over the world."
But any hopes of improving lives in Kailasa were dead on arrival because it has no residents; the rising Hindu nation isn't real. And its leader is reportedly wanted by authorities in India for child abduction and sexual assault.
The agreement lasted for six days before city officials realized they had been hoodwinked and Baraka canceled it. Spokesperson Susan Garofalo told Indian news outlet IANS in a statement that the city cut its ties to Kailasa on Jan. 18 as soon as it learned about the situation.
"Based on fraud, the ceremony was baseless and void," Garofalo said. "Although this was an unfortunate incident, the City of Newark remains committed to partnering with people from different cultures to enrich each other with connection, support and mutual respect."
Nearly two months later, the Kailasan website still features a press release saying that Newark "recognizes" the nation.
"The agreement marks a significant step forward in the mutual efforts to combat the cascading effects of the pandemic, complex mental health issues, violence, poverty, illiteracy and climate change through mutual cooperation for the upliftment of all people ultimately contributing to conflict free living and the cause of world peace."
While Kailasa is not a country recognized by the United Nations, it does offer E-Citizenship through a QR code.
Its leader, self-proclaimed godman Nithyananda, said in a recent video on Twitter that he has been targeted because he is trying to "wake up the Hindus" to their own destruction. But media reports from India show that Nithyananda fled the country in 2019 to escape accusations of rape and child abduction.
The New Indian Express reported that multiple children told police that they were tortured and forced to work. Police have said that Nithyananda would be arrested if he ever returned to India, according to the report.
Rick Rickman is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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