The city of Newark, New Jersey, was hoodwinked for five days in January when Mayor Ras Baraka invited what he thought was a delegation from the Hindu nation of Kailasa to enter into a sister city partnership, according to official confirmation.
A signing ceremony took place during which Baraka expressed his hopes that the relationship would enhance cultural, social, and political development, and improve the lives of people in both places.
However, it was discovered that Kailasa does not exist, despite the signing ceremony and Baraka’s hopes for a mutually beneficial relationship.
Recent reports inform that Newark city hall has admitted to being tricked by infamous Indian fugitive Swami Nithyananda. The supposed sister city partnership with Kailasa lasted a mere six days before being declared “baseless and void.”
A spokesperson for the city stated that despite the regrettable incident, Newark still upholds its commitment to collaborating with people from diverse cultures to cultivate a relationship based on mutual respect and support.
They also confirmed that no financial transactions took place during the brief period of the fraudulent partnership.
After the revelation that Newark had been duped into a sister city partnership with a non-existent place, Shakee Merritt, a Newark resident, expressed surprise that nobody in City Hall had done a simple Google search to verify the legitimacy of the supposed Hindu nation of Kailasa.
According to reports from Indian news outlets, Nithyananda is a well-known fraudster who has been on the run since 2019 after being accused of rape and child abduction.
However, Nithyananda has denied the charges against him. He also claimed to have acquired an island near the coast of Ecuador and declared the establishment of Kailasa around the same time.
In December, the Guardian reported that Nithyananda representatives attended a Diwali party at the House of Lords.
Additionally, the United Nations announced it would disregard statements made by Kailasa delegates at two committee meetings in February on topics of women’s representation and sustainable development.
The UN officials deemed the submissions irrelevant or tangential to the discussions.