A Krishna devotee accepted a £7,500 libel payout from a fashion store yesterday because an advertisement suggested followers were impressionable nutcases who had been brainwashed into joining a dangerous and "loony" religious sect.
Jane Phillips, counsel for Dhananjay Das, told the High Court in London that, in March last year, House of Fraser published a "highly offensive" advertisement in its store windows and in two magazines.
The advertisement, for its Linea Directions range, featured devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskon) parading in the street.
Miss Phillips, who was also appearing for the society - which accepted £17,500 from House of Fraser - told Mr Justice Gray the advertisement "suggested that Iskon was a dangerous and loony religious sect that brainwashed its followers and that Iskon's followers were easily led nutcases who had been brainwashed into joining Iskon's dangerous and loony religious sect".
One of those identifiable from the photograph was Mr Das.
Miss Phillips added: "All the allegations made by the House of Fraser were entirely without foundation and represent a grave slur on Iskon and Mr Das' reputations and integrity.
"Mr. Das has been a devotee of Iskon for the past 30 years. House of Fraser's offensive and insulting advertisements caused Mr Das considerable upset and distress."
House of Fraser apologised for the hurt caused.