The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the government of India to consider representing the country before the court in Russia to defend the Bhagwad Gita, the holy Hindu scripture which is facing a ban there.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi has also asked the Centre to inform the court about what action it has initiated to monitor the issue on the next date of hearing on January 9, 2012.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation seeking the government’s intervention in the case before the Russian court where a ban on Bhagwad Gita has been demanded.
The petitioners have quoted newspaper reports that a ban has been sought on Gita dubbing it as a literature spreading social discord.
Beni Chatterji, counsel for the Central government, informed the court that Exteranal Affairs Minister S M Krishna had made a statement that the ministry is monitoring the case.
M I Sethna, counsel for the petitioners, however, said the government is just monitoring and has asked Iskcon to defend the literature there. ‚ÄúIt is a grave insult to our culture. Instead of asking Iskcon to defend, the government should defend the Gita,‚ÄĚ Sethna said.
The PIL states that, Gita is a sacred text, and attempts to ban it would have far-reaching implications not only in India but also internationally. It contends that the subject concerned not just the Indians in Russia, but had world-wide significance. Any failure on Indian government’s part to intervene, supported by in-depth research, scholastic views and analysis, would cause irretrievable damage to our rich culture and heritage, the petition contends.
BJP leaders gift Gita to Russian envoy
NEW DELHI: BJP leaders on Wednesday gifted copies of the Bhagavad Gita to Russia’s Deputy Ambassador Denis Alipov here to protest the likely ban on the Hindu holy book in his country.
A delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members, including party leader Bal Apte, Rajya Sabha member Smriti Irani, Vijay Jolly, and others went to the Russian embassy here and met Alipov to register their protest against a likely ban on the Gita by a court in Siberia.
The party also handed him a letter addressed to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
“We wish to state that Gita preaches self discipline. It is a book with sublime thoughts and practical directions on yoga, action and devotion. It does not promote extremism. It promotes spiritualism and teaches to the mankind the need to fulfil responsibility towards worldly duties,” the letter said.
“We also request the Russian government to take strong note of our beliefs as banning Bhagavad Gita will impact negatively on the people-to-people relationship between India and Russia,” it added.
A court in Tomsk, Siberia, is hearing a plea seeking a ban on the Gita on the grounds that it was an “extremist literature”.
The issue gained centrestage after an IANS report on the matter.
The BJP has also demanded that the Gita be declared the country’s “national book”.