A Paraguayan official has resigned after signing an agreement with a fictional country invented by an Indian “guru” on the run from an array of sexual assault charges.
Arnaldo Chamorro was forced to step down as chief of staff of the Paraguayan agriculture ministry, having been duped into penning the “memorandum of understanding” with representatives from the non-existent United States of Kailasa.
The United States of Kailasa may have an abundant presence on the internet but it is not, and never has been, a sovereign nation, nor does it seem to occupy so much as an inch of physical territory.
It is led by a self-anointed Hindu mystic and con artist named Swami Nithyananda, who has been on the run from rape and sexual assault charges in India since 2019.
He has previously claimed that he can see through walls, delay the rising of the sun and induce cows to speak in Sanskrit. His whereabouts are unknown.
A ‘cosmic’ republic
On its website, the fictional country is described as the “revival of the ancient enlightened Hindu civilisational nation which is being revived by displaced Hindus from around the world.”
Nithyananda claimed in 2009 that he had established his “cosmic” republic on a private island off the coast of Ecuador – a claim that was denied by the government of the South American country.
None of which stopped Mr Chamorro from entering into diplomatic dialogue with representatives of the made-up place, alongside agriculture minister Carlos Giménez.
The accord he signed expressed a “sincere wish and recommendation for the government of Paraguay to consider, explore and actively seek the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States of Kailasa”.
The document, complete with the ministry’s letterhead and official seal, also pledged to “support the admission of the United States of Kailasa as a sovereign and independent state in various international organisations, including, among others, the United Nations”.
Photos posted in Kailasa’s social media accounts also showed representatives of the fictional country signing agreements with local leaders of the María Antonia and Karpai municipalities.
Speaking to local media after he was forced to step down on Wednesday, Mr Chamorro admitted that he did not know where Kailasa was on a map.
But he defended his signing of the accord by saying Kailasa’s representatives had offered to help Paraguay in a number of fields, including irrigation.
The agriculture ministry said it lamented “procedural errors” which led to the incident, and said the memorandum “cannot be considered official” nor confer any obligations on the state of Paraguay.
Meanwhile, mockery coursed through social media.
Paraguay merely the latest country to engage with Kailasa
But Paraguay is by no means the first country to enthusiastically engage with self-described representatives of the United States of Kailasa.
In February, they managed to participate in a UN committee meeting in Geneva.
A month later, the city of Newark in the US state of New Jersey said it too had been hoodwinked after signing a sister city agreement with Kailasa.
When officials from Newark realised they had been scammed, they declared the agreement to be “baseless and void”.
Residents of Newark described it as “truly embarrassing for the city”.
“Whose job was it in city hall to do a simple Google search?” questioned one perplexed local.