In the News — 31 December 2011

A court case in Russia against the Bhagvad Gita has been turned down on 28th Dec 2011

A court in Russia has turned down, on 28th Dec 2011, a petition that asked for a ban on a translated version of the Bhagavad Gita. It was initiated in June 2011 by the state prosecutor’s office in Tomsk, Siberia, Russia on charges of religious extremism. The prosecutors had asked the court to include the book on the Federal List of Extremist Materials, which bans more than 1,000 texts including Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

The trial has created a diplomatic empasse between India and Russia so much so that India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna met the Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin earlier this week to discuss the matter.

The trial was reportedly instigated by the local branch of the Russian Orthodox Church along with the FSB (Federal Security Service) in order to restrict the activity of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) followers, also known as Hare Krishna movement and to ban the construction of an ISKCON community village in the Tomsk region. There has already been a long-standing Moscow city government’s opposition to an ISKCON temple project in central Moscow, which the authorities later shifted to a Moscow suburb.

These events continue a trend of state-instigated legal persecutions of religious minorities in Russia.

The attack on this piece of national heritage (the book is alledgedly 5000 years old) had spurred a great furore in the Indian media and on the streets of India. Even Indian Osho sannyasins came to feel their own anger!

Sources:
www.ndtv.com
en.wikipedia.org
timeslive.co.za

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