Augerans...or How the SRCM Infiltrates a Community ...
In September 1988, the Mission buys Augerans Castle, 10 km from Dole, from the Peugeot group (automobiles) for nearly two million francs. This 10-hectare property which holds a pond and some woods, has over 3,400 sq.m. of living space on 6 floors. It was inaugurated with great pomp on Oct. 9 of that year.
"The Ashram of Val d'Amour, the future name of the Augerans castle that Mr. Lorrain Poirson, an engineer living in Hérault, leaves today for life (…), we read in the Dispatches from the Jura (Depeches du Jura) of 25/09/88. The engineer pointed in passing of "benevolence of the jurisdictions that have helped us to expedite the usual procedures for this type of creations (projects)…"
Later, on can still read: "requests for building permits have been filed at the town hall for an extension on the buildings." It is anyway not for tomorrow, "says Poirson, because buying the castle paid entirely by donations from our members has greatly strained our finances, and that it also seems to adhere to the land-use plan of the town. "
Some residents of this small town of less than 150 inhabitants, who do not yet know what actually the Mission is, want to be re-assured. But soon the sect changes its attitude. Chari wants Augerans to become the true European headquarters of the Mission. And after a moment thought of purchasing the nearby castle of Mont-sous-Vaudrey, he prefers to challenge the land-use plan for the town in June, 1990.
Indeed, the POS (land-use plan) provides for only a limited extension of the buildings to 500 square metres, the rest of the area being a protected area. But Mireille Humbert, deputy secretary of the mission, said that the European Center for yoga - new name of the place - must be "a windfall for the village that have no more than 5 or 6 children" (Estocade - Nov. 90) .
Thus, many actions poison the relations of the sect with the municipality at that time. They built without permission a collective hygiene and parking block for 150 cars, refuses to pay the tax for its participation in the community water. Finally, in 1993, the SRCMtm sets up a meditation hall at the edge of the wood, thus prohibiting any further expansion under the POS.
Then came 1994 and the municipal elections of 95. The sect takes advantage of the elections, reveals Jura Magazine (May 96): "Gerard Pélissier was mayor for six years (…) During his tenure, he wished to limit the spread of the sect by applying the land-use plan to regulate the capacity of the castle. In retaliation, the SRCM closed the account it had at the bank employing the former mayor, explaining to the director that the fault lay with the employee. "
On the eve of the elections, many followers are bused in and move into the castle and are registered to vote. They did not stay very long, but just the time required: (…) the weight of 15 voters of the sect has been decisive on the ballot, which was played as on a pocket handkerchief, "Jura Magazine. "Anyway, there is no doubt that since the last elections, the concerns of the sect have evaporated."
The new Mayor Alain Déjeux, does not like the press who came to interrogate him about the mission. "I will not use the word 'cult' for this association" he releases. He deletes the order prohibiting camping in the area and demands the removal of security stipulations during the visits and seminars. And soon a new marquee of more than 600 sq.m. is attached to the castle…
This is the right time for the Mission. It organizes multiple seminars, home to more than 1500 people. "The establishment of the association Créajoie in 1995 attests to the desire of the sect to proselytize" reads an article in the magazine Depeches du Jura. "Although its chairman, Xavier DEWEZ, says it has nothing to do with the SRCM, and is general information, Creajoie confirms that several members of the association belong to the sect. This" subsidiary ", one of whose goals is to" foster the development of the individual… ", has offered its services to the municipality of Val d'Amour, among others to teach."
Proselyte, the sect is therefore quietly attracting new followers to the region, possibly in privileged positions: one can always serve! And, we learn in June 2000 that the wife of Albert Picquet (secretary of the section of the PS for the village of Dole, and top of the list for the Socialist municipal election) is a member of the Mission. Scandal which leads him to withdraw his nomination at the request of the Departmental Federation of the party.
Unhappy at the welcome extended to him in France, Chari is considering once again to move the European headquarters of the Mission (this is only the third time!). And the village mayor himself, announced the news of the sale of the castle at the municipal council meeting of January 4, 2001 and it is announced by posters on billboards.
In 2003, the castle was the subject of a sales agreement between the SRCM and SAS S'Space Engineering based in Mulhouse. The latter would create 21 apartments at the castle. That leaves the surrounding property: the town would be acquiring the pond and call upon the community of the Commons of Val d'Amour to buy the small meditation hall…
In July, Castle Augerans was finally abandoned by the Mission!