CHAPTER II – Reports on the M.I.S.A. activity

Scared by this current that became stronger and stronger each year (practically, the number of persons interested by these unconventional practices was doubling each year, and nowadays there are approximately 45.000 members of M.I.S.A., practicing yoga, and there are also other people who practice different spiritual disciplines – TaiChi, Zen etc.), the governmental authorities, by means of mass-media, which is a servant of the neo-communist power, have launched ample press campaigns against these practices and against the mentors who were teaching these disciplines, by trying to denigrate the public image of the mentors and of ones who practice them, in order to decrease the interest of people towards these disciplines.

In this context, we wish to emphasize that the Association for Defending the Human Rights in Romania – The Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH), notified in 1996, after which they made their own inquiries and finally they made reports regarding the M.I.S.A. Association, in which they express their worries towards the repeated persecutions to which M.I.S.A. and its members have to suffer.

In the above-mentioned reports, they agree that “there is nothing illegal in the activity of M.I.S.A. members and there is nothing to motivate a campaign against them”.

Here are a few passages from the APADOR-CH report:

a) The press campaign and the repression of MISA members

The press campaign against MISA and the Yoga instructor, Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru, has been launched in 1990 and reached its height in 1995. Other calumnious newspaper articles appeared in 1996 in “Romania Libera”, “Jurnalul National”, “Ziua”, “Academia Catavencu”, etc. MISA has sued the authors of the articles in court, accusing them of calumny. The fact that some of these journalists were finally punished (Corneliu Reu, from “Tinerama” and Cristian Negureanu from “Romania Libera” had to pay penalties in 1995) has given the impression that the hostility against MISA was controlled, and that the state institutions were able to defend this organization. This is the reason why APADOR-CH didn’t take further steps regarding MISA.

For the first time, in 1996, the state authorities have acted themselves against MISA. On June 17th 1996, at around 11 o’clock p.m., a few dozens of police officers have rushed into the Sports Hall of Bucharest Politechnics Institute, where approximately 150 people, members of MISA, were attending a Yoga course. They asked their identity documents and started to interrogate them with a menacing tone. Around 20 people were taken to the police station because they didn’t have their identity cards with them. At a certain point, a police officer tried to take by force the video camera of a yoga student, who was recording the events. Two women, Camelia Rosu and Carmen Efta, yoga students too, came between the police officer and their colleague. At this moment two police officers started to beat them, hurting them, fact that was attested later by medical certificates. Camelia Rosu and Carmen Efta have filed a complaint at the General Court (“Parchetul General”), but even at the end of 1996 they have not answered that complaint.

b) The position of APADOR-CH

In August 1996, APADOR-CH made an investigation at Costinesti, in the yoga camp at “The French Gulf”, where MISA members used to meet in summer. For two days, the representatives of APADOR-CH watched and checked whether the accusations against this organization, regarding disturbing the public order, and actions against morality, were true or not. The meetings of MISA members took place in civilized conditions. There is nothing illegal in the activity of MISA members and there is nothing to motivate a campaign against them. In the interviews with MISA leaders, they have proven, with facts and documents, that the information published by mass-media against MISA members was not true. They have also confirmed the declarations of the two yoga students beaten by police officers, and they have given these declarations to APADOR-CH.

In 1996, APADOR-CH started to investigate on the reasons for which numerous newspapers had published defamatory articles against MISA, and they continued the investigation in 1997 too, in order to clarify and to define a position regarding this phenomenon, necessary for stopping a campaign that infringes on the freedom of people’s conscience.

In the 1997 report, APADOR-CH continues:

“The Organization for Spiritual Integration into the Divine (MISA) has been, since its beginning, the target of numerous calumnies and defamatory press articles. In 1996, these attacks were followed by interventions of public authorities, having as a result the impossibility of renting appropriate halls for yoga courses, and even the aggression of some of its members. APADOR-CH has taken position against breaching the freedom of conscience of MISA members and has given its report to the authorities and to the mass-media.

In 1997, the press campaigns against MISA continued, by publishing tens of defamatory articles in most newspapers. There were also TV and radio programs with the same attitude.

The APADOR-CH representative participated at the yoga courses at the “Steaua Sport Club”, in March, confirming that the information published by mass-media regarding the content of the yoga courses was not true. During these investigations, the APADOR-CH representative has seen different situations where, under the influence of the newspapers and authorities, some institutions have cancelled their contract of renting spaces for MISA yoga courses.

Thus, on March 9th 1997, at 8 p.m., when the yoga students arrived at the IMEB hall (“Intreprinderea de Masini Grele Bucuresti”, The Heavy Machines Factory – Bucharest) for the yoga course, the guardian announced that the yoga course would no longer take place there, because he had received strict orders.

MISA has also complained about different actions of intimidation against its members – for example when the police broke in at a MISA building, on the 10th of March 1997, at 7 a.m., with an antiterrorist unit, and the persons in the building were handcuffed. In 1997, the MISA leader, Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru, was periodically called to the police station, in order to give declarations regarding his activity.”

Moreover, in the APADOR-CH report from March 1998 (“Romania – A summary of human rights concerns”) – addressed to the Council of Europe (registered with nr. AI Index: EUR/39/06/98) there is a detailed history of discriminating actions against our organization, with exact data regarding abuses and violence committed by police against MISA members. Other organizations for the protection of human rights, like Amnesty International, have reached the same conclusions, that in the case of MISA organization, the human rights have been repeatedly and seriously violated. Here is a quote from the APADOR-CH report in 1996, which gives us the following eloquent data regarding the “Organization for Spiritual Integration into the Divine” (MISA): “During 1996, were continued the actions against an organization whose members are practicing Yoga, “The Organization for Spiritual Integration into the Divine”, and against one of its leaders, Mr. Gregorian Bivolaru. This campaign has put in a delicate situation the ensemble of movements and doctrines with Asian filiation.”

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