Scientologists spread their roots in Capital

Express News Service/October 7, 2004

New Delhi -- Scientologists are getting ready to spread their movement in India. A two-day exhibition aimed at recruiting volunteers was inaugurated by Delhi Assembly Speaker Prem Singh in the Capital yesterday. From Delhi, the exhibition will travel to Ahmedabad, Ambala and Patiala.

The movement has had its share of controversy. "It doesn't matter... every subject gets negative press... even the government is subject to negative press. But that was in the past," said Ged Yeardsley, who has brought the exhibition to India from UK.

The movement is in its infancy in India. There are 50 volunteers and 250 to 300 members in India. But Scientologists are pushing for an increase now. "We offer modern-day solution to people's problems. The exhibition offers different solutions to problems," he added.

Scientology, portrayed as a religious philosophy, was started by L. Ron Hubbard. Hollywood stars Tom Cruise and John Travolta are among its followers.

There are courses on disaster management, drug rehabilitation, education, marriage counselling and improving communication skills. Scientologists claim to help drug addicts and people with marital problems, and solve children's academic problems, and stress-related issues.

Scientologists are also thinking of opening a celebrity centre for Bollywood stars. "We would love to put up an office in Bollywood. Scientology is quite new in India and was established in the past two to three years," Ged said. "Like anywhere else in the world, India too has problems like drug addiction and illiteracy. We want to help," he added.

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