Hindus make last bid to save Bhagavad Gita from ban in RussiaDecember 19th, 2011 - 7:01 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 19 (IANS) 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 protected.
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 Lalu Prasad.
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 compromised.
“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.
- Hindus make last bid to save 'Gita'; Indian lawmakers miffed (Roundup) - Dec 19, 2011
- Russian envoy denounces 'madmen' seeking ban on Gita - Dec 20, 2011
- ISKCON monks protest outside Russian consulate - Dec 19, 2011
- Gita ban case work of 'misdirected individuals', says India (Lead) - Dec 20, 2011
- Indian legal eagles to battle 'ban Gita' move in Russia - Dec 27, 2011
- 'Ban Gita' plea dismissed in Russia (Roundup) - Dec 28, 2011
- 'Ban Gita' plea dismissed in Russia (Intro Roundup) - Dec 29, 2011
- Russian court resumes hearing on Gita ban - Mar 20, 2012
- Anxiety grips Hindus in Russia; prosecutors pursue 'Ban Gita' case - Mar 19, 2012
- Russian court begins final hearing in 'ban Gita' case - Dec 28, 2011
- Hindus in Russia celebrate Gita verdict; brace for possible appeal - Dec 29, 2011
- 'Ban Gita' plea dismissed in Russia (Second Lead) - Dec 28, 2011
- Facing 'ban Gita' case, Hindus build Krishna temple in Moscow - Dec 25, 2011
- Krishna meets Russian envoy over Gita row - Dec 27, 2011
- Bhagavad Gita faces 'extremist' branding, ban in Russia (Lead) - Dec 17, 2011
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