Appeal in Bhagavad Gita case to be heard in March
TOMSK, February 14 - RAPSI. The Tomsk Regional Court will hear on March 6 the local prosecutor's office's appeal against the first-instance court's refusal to declare a Russian version of the "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" Hindu scripture an extremist text.
In June, the Tomsk Prosecutor's Office appealed to the court to place the Russian-language version of the text on the federal extremist materials list. The prosecutor's office initiated the case following an inspection of the Tomsk Society for Krishna Consciousness.
According to Tomsk University experts cited by the local prosecutor's office, the creed described in the book incites religious hatred, humiliates the dignity of people on the basis of sex, race, nationality, language, origin and attitude toward religion.
The prosecutor's office's petition to declare "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" an extremist text has sparked public indignation in India and been called a violation of Hindu rights. Several lawmakers have called on the Russian government to stand up for the rights of Hindus in Russia.
In late December, a Siberian district court rejected a petition by prosecutors to ban the book. The petition was originally filed in June and the trial prompted criticism in international media.
"Bhagavad Gita As It Is" is a translation and commentary of the original Bhagavad Gita Hindu scripture. It was written by the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The book has been translated into over 60 languages.
Meanwhile, local prosecutors say the book promotes extremism and social discord.