New Delhi: In a
hard-fought court case that sought to ban the Bhagavad Gita and
brand it "extremist" literature, as first reported by IANS, Hindus
in Russia Wednesday scored a major win when a Siberian court threw
out the state prosecutors' plea to ban the sacred text.
During the final hearing in the Leninsky district court of Tomsk
city, Federal Judge G.E. Butenko, in a one-line oral order,
rejected the petition of the prosecutors, saying he was not
"pleased" with their plea to ban the Bhagavad Gita and brand it
"extremist" literature, Sadhu Priya Das, a leader of the Russian
unit of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon),
told IANS over phone from Moscow.
"The court has dismissed the state prosecutors' case during the
hearing today," Das said, adding that the detailed verdict will be
made available only after a week to the Hindus fighting the case.
The court reviewed the state prosecutors' plea, report of an
expert group on the Bhagavad Gita and the Hindus' arguments
against the case, before delivering the verdict, providing Hindus
worldwide, and particularly in Russia, reason to rejoice.
The case began in June this year, seeking a ban on Iskcon founder
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's Russian translation of the
Bhagavad Gita. It had caused a political storm in India, with
parliament being rocked on two days, after IANS first reported the
On the plea from members of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha,
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna made a statement in
parliament, stating that the Indian government was doing
everything possible to protect the Hindus' rights in Russia.
Hindus in Russia and Krishna devotees, numbering about 50,000 in
Iskcon centres in 80 cities, had for long pleaded with the Indian
government and the Indian embassy in Moscow to intervene in the
matter and to prevent the branding of their religious text as
"extremist" literature causing "social discord".
They had also written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's
office, seeking his direct intervention when he visited Moscow Dec
15 - 17 this year for a summit meeting with Russian President
A day ahead of the verdict, Krishna Tuesday met Russian Ambassador
to India Alexander Kadakin.
Kadakin had, after the storm in the Indian parliament, called the
Siberian court case an act of some "madmen" and that he found it
ridiculous to take any religious text, be it Bhagavad Gita, Bible
or Quran, to court.
Following the favourable verdict, Hindus in Russia thanked the
Siberian court, Russian and Indian governments, the Indian embassy
in Moscow and all others who had stood by them during the
six-month-long legal battle, Sadhu Priya Das said.
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