A senior Paraguayan official resigned from his position this week after he realised that he had signed a cooperation memorandum with Kailasa, a fictional country founded by self-styled religious leader Nithyananda, AFP reported.

The rape-accused leader claims to have set up a country called the United States of Kailasa, which is purported to be an island off the coast of Ecuador.

Arnaldo Chamorro, the chief of staff at Paraguay’s agriculture ministry, told reporters that he was deceived by people who claimed to be officials from the United States of Kailasa, which they said was a country located on a South American island.

Chamorro had issued a proclamation expressing his commitment to foster diplomatic relations with Kailasa, thus recognising the existence of the imaginary country.

“They came and expressed a wish to help Paraguay,” he said. “They presented several projects, we listened to them and that was that.”

The agreement signed on October 16, had proposed the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, AFP reported. The official document recommends that the Paraguayan government actively explore the establishment of diplomatic relations with the United States of Kailasa.

It also asks to support admission of Kailasa as a sovereign state to various international organisations, including the United Nations.

Besides Paraguay’s agriculture ministry, two municipalities of the country had also signed an agreement with the country.

A press release on the website of the fictional country from November 3 claims that it had signed sister-city agreements with two municipalities in Paraguay. The sister-city programme was established after the Second World War to promote cultural and commercial ties between municipalities around the world.

“Kailasa and the municipalities of Maria Antonia and Karapai, Republic of Paraguay, have entered into sister-city agreements,” it said. “These new partnerships are established on shared values of cultural understanding, religious freedom, and the promotion of human rights, with a particular focus on eradicating hunger, fostering youth leadership, and advancing holistic health and education initiatives.”

Nithyananda had fled India after he was accused of rape and of illegally confining children in his ashram. In 2019, India had cancelled Nithyananda’s passport and also rejected his application for a fresh one. He is accused of abducting children and using them to raise money for his ashram.

Rescinded MoU

In January, the city of Newark in the US state of New Jersey was also duped into signing an agreement with Kailasa.

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka had signed an agreement with the delegates of Kailasa on January 12 to join a sister city programme.

However, the deal was rescinded a few days later after Newark officials discovered that Kailasa did not exist.

In March, the United Nations decided to ignore statements made by representatives of Kailasa at two official events of the global body held in Geneva on February 22 and February 24.