Bhagavad Gita extremism case turned down
TOMSK, March 21 - RAPSI. The Tomsk Regional Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the Prosecutor's Office seeking declaration of the "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" Russian version extremist.
The book was written by founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It was translated into more than 60 languages.
The Prosecutor General First Deputy Alexander Buksman has explained that the subject in dispute is not the holy Hindu writing, but its commentary earlier published in English.
The Tomsk prosecutor's office initiated the case in June 2011 following its 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 experts found that the book has signs of extremism.
A Tomsk district court held against the prosecutors' request to recognize the book as extremist in December 2011. The Prosecutor's Office challenged the judgment.
At the appeal hearing the prosecutor noted that the court had misinterpreted the concept of extremism: Russian law prohibits any propagation inciting any hatred.
"The Society for Krishna Consciousness has nothing to do with traditional Hinduism. Their policy book Bhagavad Gita As It Is' is far from the original Hindu scripture. It is just a liberal and not too skillful translation, and, to make it worse, it is a double translation. First it was translated from Sanskrit into English, then from English into Russian. It exceeds the original text three or four times," head of the Justice Ministry's religion expert council Alexander Dvorkin said.
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.
The prosecutor's office is now deciding whether to contest the appeals court judgment or not.