The petition was originally filed in June in a court in Tomsk in Siberia and had created a diplomatic stress point for India and Russia.
India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met the Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin earlier this week to discuss the matter. Today, Mr Krishna welcomed the judgement and thanked the Russian government for its support.
Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk had argued that the Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” promotes “social discord” and hatred toward non-believers. The text is a combination of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures, and commentary by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) that is often called the Hare Krishna movement.
The prosecutors had asked the court to include the book on the Federal List of Extremist Materials, which bans more than 1,000 texts including Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
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MOSCOW: Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as “an extremist” literature across Russia. A court in Siberia’s Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors.
In the Nov 1 letter addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON’s New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor’s affidavit claims Lord Krishna “is evil and not conforming to Christian religious view”.
– It also wants the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declared as a literature spreading “social discord”, its distribution on Russian soil rendered illegal.
-The court, which took up the case filed by the state prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State University for “an expert” examination Oct 25.
– But Hindu groups in Russia, particularly followers of ISKCON, say the university was not qualified as it lacked Indologists who study the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent.
– The Hindus pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance from a “majority religious group in Russia”, and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld.
– The prosecutor’s case also seeks to ban the preachings of Prabhupada and ISKCON’s religious beliefs, claiming these were “extremist” in nature and preached “hatred” of other religious beliefs.