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Scholars to set up independent expert commission on extremism

12:08 27/02/2012

TOMSK, February 27 - RAPSI. Participants of the Bhagavad Gita in History and Modern Society academic conference proposed to set up an independent board of scholars to evaluate various texts for signs of extremism, conference spokesperson Oleg Khazanov told RIA Novosti on Monday.

The conference was held at the Tomsk State University on February 24-25 because of the lawsuit filed by the Tomsk prosecutor's office to declare "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" extremist. The book is a Russian translation of and commentary to the original Bhagavad Gita Hindu scripture.

The Tomsk prosecutor's office initiated the case in June 2011 following an inspection of the Tomsk Society for Krishna Consciousness.

According to Tomsk University experts cited by the local prosecutor's office, the dogmata 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.

Later Kemerovo University experts found that the book has signs of extremism.

A Tomsk district court held against the prosecutors' request to recognize the book as extremist on December 28. The Prosecutor's Office later challenged the judgment. The regional court will hear the appeal on March 20.

"We consider the opinion of the experts who conducted the religious and psycholinguistic examination unprofessional, because they are not specialists in this field. It has become necessary to set up an independent and competent expert society, consisting of religious scholars, linguists, historians, philosophers, who could produce a grounded and science-based appraisal of such issues," Khazanov said.

Chief researcher of the Indian Research Center at the Oriental Studies Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences Irina Glushkova told RIA Novosti that there are various schools of Hinduism "and each school is based on its own scripture or commentary."

The prosecutor's office's petition to declare "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" an extremist text has sparked public indignation in India and was called a violation of Hindu rights.

Several lawmakers have called on the Russian government to stand up for the rights of Hindus in Russia.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the translated version may be linguistically untrue to the original Hindu scripture, as it contains "semantic distortions", which may affect its meaning.

"Bhagavad Gita As It Is" is a Russian translation and commentary of the original Bhagavad Gita Hindu scripture. It was written by founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The book was translated into more than 60 languages.

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Scholars to set up independent expert commission on extremism

12:08 27/02/2012 Participants of the Bhagavad Gita in History and Modern Society academic conference proposed to set up an independent board of scholars to evaluate various texts for signs of extremism.
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