The case of Jooga- ja Tantrakuolu Natha

Yoga practitioners survailance in Finland

From 30th October to 2nd November 2015, Soteria International conducted a fact-finding mission in Helsinki to directly observ the situation of yoga practitioners from Jooga- ja Tantrakuolu Natha and to have meetings with the association’s representatives and management board; surveys and interviews with students and teachers; observations of meetings of members of JTN; surveys of media attention on the case; interviews with practitioners whose houses were raided by the police in 2012 and being part of the ensuing judicial proceedings.

The humankind experience so far demonstrates that often legality prevails over righteousness, but when things are considered just as an exclusive result of legislative decisions, the human rights can miss ethic and moral dimensions. Ethic and moral dimensions ultimately come from a common sense of Justice as a fruit of the triptych love-right-solidarity naturally existing among the members of a community.

We recognised patterns in how the Finnish authorities have dealt with this case, in other countries which commit abuses towards religious minorities considered as “sects.” It appears as though the authorities are in danger of being influenced by the media and a socially accepted discrimination of certain groups, which are publicly described as strange or subversive. Within the EU there is a continuous fight to let go of the “sect” stigma of smaller religious groups, based on, and fuelled by, popular intolerance and ignorance.

Out fact finding mission concluded in the following report: