Report on Acceptance Community conflict
It was end 2012 that the Council started to receive repeated complaints from both sides:
from Auroshree and Jayavel about Matej placing waste bins in a place used by J. for parking his car. Matej doesn’t want Jayavel’s car to be parked close to his house as he and his guests do not like to see it across the fence (there is a fence around their house, the rest of the community is open).
Auroshee complained about Matej and his guests’ behaviour towards them and their kids, for example telling the kids their father is a crook and filming them without permission. Matej started to send emails with photos of the overturned waste bins to all the AV International centers and outside personalities.
The Council met both parties soon after receiving those complaints and 4 members went on site. During this visit they met with Jayavel, then with Monica and Dalai, Matej being absent. After speaking with both parties an alternative site for the waste bins was allocated at the entrance of the community, to be used by all. Monica admitted that during the cyclone Jayavel has been a great support and help.
Dalai mentioned that when they were living in the village and had this kind of neighboring problems they just had to call the police to remove the car. He also mentioned that now that they have invested so much money in this house they cannot move out anymore. When Dalai spoke about police, Council members tried to explain that in Auroville we are looking for different ways of addressing conflicts, through dialogue and mediation.
In that meeting on site, Monica said that they were going to buy a new car and park it where J. parks his car. Dalai told her “do not be weird; we can park the car inside in the specially built garage.”
A few days later, the new car arrived; as it is the “smallest car in India” there was space to park it inside their compound. When Matej parked his car in the space usually used by Jayavel, Auroshee called AVC members to see for themselves what they considered to be a provocation; 2 members of the Council went there and left. Jayavel then called his friends who came and tried to remove the car.
It is the next evening that it came to a physical shoving and pushing and some slaps between Jayavel, Auroprem, Kalya and Dalaj and Matej which were filmed by Matej‘s friends. AVC asked everyone to calm down for a week and that nobody should park their car in that place, the time to meet with all the parties involved. We spoke firmly against violence in Auroville. After this first meeting some members of both parties met at the Morgan Cafe, had coffee together and shook hands.
In the meantime Matej wrote to the Slovenian Embassy and the Secretary of Auroville Foundation about the violence. He considered that his life and his friends’ lives were threatened and that Auroville was doing nothing to defend them. He decided to file a case at the police station denouncing Jayavel, Auroshree, Auroprem, and Kalya. After the complaint (FIR) was filed, policemen came regularly to Auroshree and Javavel’s house sometimes when they were not at home, which was frightening for their children. Since then, the situation is very tense between the neighbours, with constant provocations from both sides.
The AVC has repeatedly called Matej to come forward to sit for mediation, and Jayavel, Auroprem, Auroshree and Kalya were ready to go for it and were waiting for settling the situation without involving the police, but Matej refused as he considers that the W.C. and AVC were not doing enough to guarantee his safety. He now wants only communications in writing as he does not trust Auroville groups.
Jayavel, Auroprem, Auroshee and Kalya stated that they have no problem with Matej but that they find the behavior of guests of Matej in this situations as not appropriate.
The issues about separating wastes and finding a place for parking can be found in many places in Auroville and fortunately do not lead to such confrontation and escalation of violence. The root is deeper and it is about people from different backgrounds and cultures learning to respect each other and living together peacefully. Guests of India and of Auroville have to double their efforts when it comes to this mutual understanding. It is one of the challenges of Auroville, unity through diversity and about Aurovilians being convinced of human unity.
The Auroville Council is clear in its stand that violence has no place in Auroville, but considers that to spread emails and postings accusing others without proof, posting half truths and publishing criminal activities that happen in or around Auroville and have nothing to do with the concerned Aurovilians is also to be seen as an aggression. It is moreover also an act of aggression towards Auroville itself as it is giving a distorted and negative image of Auroville.
The AVCouncil is proposing that on behalf of the community both parties take responsibility for their acts, write an apology to the community for their actions and pledge their commitment towards the aim of Auroville: Human Unity.
We welcome any help and proposals from Aurovilians to address issues of violence in Auroville. We especially invite those who post their dissatisfaction on the Net and seem to know a way to handle the situation. We are ALL concerned.
Aurovillenews (Unofficial) editors note:
” The best way to resolve any problem in the Human world is for all sides to sit down and talk.”
The Dalai Lama