Did Mumbai’s ISKCON Temple Just Use Gaumutra as Hand Sanitiser for Coronavirus?

Coronavirus

Did Mumbai’s ISKCON Temple Just Use Gaumutra as Hand Sanitiser for Coronavirus?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

Hand sanitiser is the new gold! With panic spreading over the novel coronavirus, people are scrambling to hoard sanitisers and the shortage comes as no surprise. Even luxury brand Louis Vuitton is using its perfume production line to start making hand sanitisers which they will distribute to hospitals free of cost.

Back in India, coronavirus cases are spiking – the number now stands at 114, with Maharashtra reporting the most number of cases. Amid the scare, Mumbai’s ISKCON Temple has allegedly found a novel way to ensure that its visitors remain virus-free.

Instead of sanitisers, they decided to spray gaumutra on the hands of visitors. And this, some visitors found, was done without their permission. Raju P Nair, who visited the temple on Sunday, expressed his outrage on Twitter.

“Today my friend took me to Govinda restaurant inside ISKCON Temple complex, Andheri where I had to go through a security check. After frisking they asked me to show my hands and sprayed something which smelled awkward. When I questioned they said it is gaumutra,” tweeted Nair, a Kerala Congress functionary.

“It was insulting and offensive for the ISKCON authorities to do it without anyone’s permission. I was not even visiting the temple and was going to eatery for lunch. This is against my faith and values,” he added in a Twitter thread.

Visitors to the temple were not told that it was gaumutra that was being used. They assumed it was the sanitiser until it smelled different. Vaibhavi Shukl, who also visited the temple and had the same experience, responded to Nair’s thread on Twitter saying that she felt “extremely gross.” “They were not even telling what were they spraying. I offered my hands thinking it was sanitizer but it felt different and that’s when I asked,” she wrote.

Amid the scare, Mumbai’s ISKCON Temple has allegedly found a novel way to ensure that its visitors remain virus-free.

The temple has reportedly confirmed the use of gaumutra, saying that they did so because they fell short of hand sanitisers, only on Sunday, March 15. A spokesperson for the spiritual authority admitted that they used “Distilled Goark (cow urine)”, claiming that it is “a disinfectant and an anti-bacterial”. “We used it for a short time while we tried to procure hand sanitisers. In the restaurant, we had regular alcohol-based hand sanitisers but at the main gate, we used gaumutra for some time.”

Perhaps this shouldn’t come as too much of a shock. As ayurveda and homeopathy practitioners have a field day, selling all manner of therapies with supposedly medicinal properties, union ministers take part in chants, and jagratas and gaumutra parties become the norm, what’s a little cow urine sanitiser?

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