New Delhi: In a last
ditch effort to save Bhagavad Gita from a ban, as reported first
by IANS, aghast Hindus in Russia appealed to the Siberian court to
seek the views of the nation's human rights panel on the religious
text and preachings, before pronouncing its verdict.
Following their last-minute plea, represented by their advocate
Mikhail Fralov, the court in Tomsk city in Siberia has given the
human rights panel 24 hours to come with its deposition, following
which it will deliver the verdict Tuesday.
As reported by IANS from Moscow last week, the court -- which has
been hearing the case filed by the state prosecutors since June --
was otherwise ready to deliver its judgment Monday.
The development comes just two days after Indian Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh returned home Dec 17 from Moscow after the annual
Summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Dec 16.
After the IANS report, parliamentarians across the political
spectrum Monday created a ruckus in parliament and asked the
government to ensure the religious rights of Hindus in Russia are
Referring to the IANS report, Biju Janata Dal leader Bhratruhari
Mahtab pointed out in the Lok Sabha Monday that the Bhagvad Gita
was facing the prospect of being branded as "extremist" literature
and banned there.
He was joined by a host of MPs, including Rashtriya Janata Dal's
The prosecution in Russia also wants the Russian translation of "Bhagavad
Gita As It Is" by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder
of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon),
declared illegal, claiming it spread "hatred".
In view of the case, Hindus settled in Moscow, numbering about
15,000, and followers of the Iskcon movement in Russia have asked
the Indian government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the
issue in favour of the scripture, an important part of Indian epic
Mahabharata written by sage Ved Vyas.
Iskcon followers in Russia have also written a letter to the Prime
Minister's Office in New Delhi, calling for immediate
intervention, lest the religious freedom of Hindus living there be
"When the matter came up before the court, our advocate pleaded to
pronounce the verdict after hearing the view of Russia's Human
Rights Committee on what it thought of Bhagavad Gita and of
Hindus' religious rights," said Sadhu Priya Das of Iskcon.
"The court accepted the plea and has given 24 hours for the
committee to come with its deposition before it," Das, who is a
devotee at a 40-year-old Krishna temple in central Moscow, told
IANS over the phone from Moscow.
"This is our last ditch effort to convince the court to see our
point of view and uphold Hindus' religious rights. The verdict
will now come out on Tuesday," he said.
Advocate Fralov, speaking to IANS over phone from Tomsk where he
had appeared in the court hearing earlier, said the defence sought
the deposition of the human rights panel in the case because they
wanted to use all the legal options to defend the Gita.
"One of the last few options was to get the Human Rights Committee
involved in the case, so that the rights of minorities get
highlighted before the court," Fralov said.
He also said Hindus and Krishna devotees in Russia had much
earlier represented to the human rights panel asking it to give
its views before the court, which it agreed to. The committee,
later, also wrote to the Tomsk court that it would like to present
its views on the case, which the court accepted.