Some Pandits Sent Back To India After Recent Incident Near Fairfield

By Mark Carlson, Reporter

FAIRFIELD, Iowa -- The pandit at the center of a recent up-rising on the pandit campus near Vedic City has been sent back to India. Pandit project organizers say the pandit and five others were taken to O'Hare Airport this weekend and flown back to India.

Pandits are men typically between the ages of 20 to 40. They're brought from India to Iowa by members of the Transcendental Meditation community in Fairfield to promote peace on a campus near the Maharishi University of Management. The pandits are paid by donors to meditate.

Last week a group of 70 to 80 pandits became upset when a pandit leader was suddenly removed from campus. Project leaders say the pandit was being removed for unspecified disciplinary reasons.

According to the Jefferson County sheriff's office, the removal of the pandit triggered a riot in which 70 to 80 pandits surrounded the sheriff's vehicle and started throwing rocks at him. The sheriff escaped unharmed, but windows and lights were broken on his vehicle.

In an effort to restore peace, the pandit leader was temporarily returned to campus.

"A very harmonious meeting was held with the entire Pandit group immediately after the incident to discuss what transpired. The Pandit who was escorted off the campus returned to participate in this meeting and provide further information. On Saturday he was taken to O'Hare airport with five other Pandits," pandit project leaders said in a news release.

"An internal review of the situation is continuing with the aim to avoid any such repeat incidents. It is expected that additional Pandits involved in this incident will be requested to return to India this week."
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