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By BBC News
Russia court declares Hindu book Bhagvad Gita legal
A Russian court has dismissed a call to ban an edition of the Hindu holy book Bhagvad Gita, in a case that triggered protests in India.
Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk wanted the edition to be ruled “extremist”. That would put it in the same category as Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
The Russian foreign ministry said it was the commentary on the text, not the text itself, that was under scrutiny.
The edition - Bhagvad Gita As It Is - is used by the Hare Krishna movement.
A lawyer representing the movement in Tomsk, Alexander Shakhov, welcomed the judge’s decision, saying it “shows that Russia really is becoming a democratic society”.
The controversial commentary on the text was written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the movement, whose full title is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Hare Krishna followers in Russia saw the case as part of efforts by the Russian Orthodox Church to restrict their activities.
India voices concern
The trial began in June and had been due to conclude on 19 December, but it was delayed until 28 December at the request of the Russian ombudsman for human rights.
But neither the ombudsman Vladimir Lukin nor his Tomsk colleague Nelli Krechetova was present in court for Wednesday’s ruling.
On Tuesday India’s Foreign Minister, SM Krishna, complained to the Russian Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, about the Tomsk prosecution.
Mr Krishna said Indians had reacted very negatively to the alleged infringement of Hindu rights in Russia.
The Bhagvad Gita, one of the most popular texts for Hindus, takes the form of a conversation between the god Krishna and prince Arjuna.
Earlier this month Indian MPs demanded the government protect Hindu rights in Russia, shouting: “We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna.”
Ambassador Kadakin, quoted by the AP news agency, distanced himself from the Tomsk prosecutors, saying “any holy scripture, whether it is the Koran, Bhagvad Gita, the Bible, Avesta or Torah cannot be brought into court”.
The Russian translation of the book was at risk of being placed on the Federal List of Extremist Materials, which bans more than 1,000 texts including Mein Kampf and publications by the Jehovah’s Witness and Scientology movements.
The Siberian city of Tomsk took up the case for a final hearing today morning and the judge, after reviewing the petition from the state prosecutors and the responses from the Hindus, dismissed the plea
By The Times Of India
Russian court dismisses plea to ban Bhagavad Gita
NEW DELHI: Hindus in Russia Wednesday won a hard-fought six-month battle in a Siberian court against a plea to ban the Bhagavad Gita, among their holiest of religious scriptures, with the judge dismissing the state prosecutors’ stand the book be branded “extremist” literature, as first reported by IANS.
The court in the Siberian city of Tomsk took up the case for a final hearing Wednesday morning and the judge, after reviewing the petition from the state prosecutors and the responses from the Hindus, dismissed the plea.
“The court has dismissed the state prosecutors’ case during the hearing today,” Sadhu Priya Das, a leader of the Russian unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon), told IANS on the phone from Moscow.
The case has been going on in the Tomsk city court since June and Hindus in Russia had pleaded with the Indian government to intervene diplomatically.
After the Indian authorities were informed of the case, the government in New Delhi and the Indian embassy in Moscow too took up the matter with the Russian government.
Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had met Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin Tuesday on the issue.
Russian court rejects plea to ban Gita translation: ISKCON
A Russian court on Wednesday rejected the application seeking ban on a translated version of Bhagvad Gita, claims ISKCON.
The court was hearing final arguments on Wednesday to decide whether to ban a translation of Bhagavad Gita on account that it is ‚Äúextremist literature‚ÄĚ and promotes ‚Äúsocial discord‚ÄĚ, a case that has sparked concern in India.
The court in the Siberian city of Tomsk began its final hearing to decide the fate of the translation by the founder of the international Hare Krishna movement.
With the case raising concerns in India, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna summoned the Russian Ambassador in New Delhi, Alexander Kadakin, on the eve of the court hearing and told him that Moscow should provide all possible help to resolve the issue.
He also conveyed to the Russian diplomat the sensitivities involved with the issue. Kadakin had assured Krishna that the Russian government will do all it can within its powers.
The case filed by state prosecutors in Tomsk claimed that the renowned translation of the text, titled ‚ÄúBhagavad Gita As It Is‚ÄĚ is ‚Äúextremist literature‚ÄĚ and should join Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf on a list of banned books.
‚ÄúBhagavad Gita As It Is‚ÄĚ — first published in 1968 ‚Äď is a translation of and commentary on the original text by Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the international Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON.
ISKCON members have linked the court case to the Russian Orthodox church, which they claim wants to limit their activities in Russia.
Russia court rejects ban on Gita
A court in Siberia on Wednesday rejected the state prosecutor’s plea for banning the Hindu holy text Bhagavad Gita in Russia, according to reports. Earlier this week, external affairs minister SM Krishna had met Russian envoy Alexander Kadakin and apprised him about the “sensitive nature”
of the case.
Krishna hoped that the Russian authorities would find an amicable solution to the issue. On his part, Kadakin had assured Krishna that the Russian government would do all it could to resolve the issue.
After the meeting, the Russian envoy said, “You understand that it is a court case but the Russian government can do one thing. It can ask the people to express our love and admiration for the Gita. That (assurance) you can get from anyone in Russia,” he said.
The debate on the Bhagwad Gita sparked off when a controversy about its “extremist” nature began to build up in Russia. The issue has triggered angry reactions from Hindus around the world.
Russian court rejects petition for banning Gita
Moscow: A Russian court on Wednesday rejected a petition, described by India as “patently absurd”, which had sought a ban on a translated version of Bhagavad Gita, bringing cheers to followers here as well as those across the world.
“We have won the case. The judge has rejected the petition,” Sadhu Priya Das of ISKCON, Moscow, who is also chairman of newly formed Hindu Council of Russia, said.
External affairs minister SM 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 towards non-believers.
The text is a combination of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures, and commentary by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, that is commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement, ISKCON.
The prosecutors had asked the court to include the book on the Russian Federal List of Extremist Materials, which bans more than 1,000 texts including Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” and books distributed by the Jehovah’s Witness and Scientology movements.
Reacting to the judgement that came at about 4:30 pm IST, ISKCON spokesman Brajendra Nandan Das said in New Delhi that, “We are very happy”.
ISKCON members have alleged that the Russian Orthodox Church was behind the court case as it wanted to limit their activities.
The case had created a storm back in India and even the parliamentary proceedings had been affected by it. Speaking in Parliament, Krishna had said the lawsuit was the work of “ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals.” He also called the complaint “patently absurd”.