Monday, December 19, 2011

Lok Sabha storm as Russian court decides whether to ban Bhagavad Gita

Lalu Prasad shouting that the Hindu
scripture does not preach extremism

New Delhi:  The Lok Sabha was adjourned this morning as MPs protested against a move in Russia to ban the Bhagavad Gita.

In a Siberian court, state prosecutors have petitioned that the Gita, distributed locally by ISKCON members, is "extremist" literature. The court in Siberia's Tomsk city is scheduled to deliver its verdict today.

The final pronouncement in the case  comes just two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Moscow for a bilateral summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) has in recent years been noted for bulking up its  membership in Eastern Europe. The organization has more than 400 centres across the world.

"I want to know from the government what it is doing. The religious rights of Hindus in Russia should be protected. The government should impress upon the Russian authorities through diplomatic channels," said Bhartruhari Mahtab, an PM from the Biju Janata Dal. Lalu Prasad of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RLD) was heard shouting that the Hindu scripture does not preach extremism.

The court in Tomsk is deciding whether to accept that  the Gita is literature that spreads "social dischord." The petition filed in June this year also asks for a ban on a Russian translation of the Gita written by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Nearly 15,000 Indians in  Moscow  have appealed to the Indian government to intervene diplomatically. They say the court case also wants to ban the writings of of Prabhupada and ISKCON's religious beliefs on the grounds that they preach "hatred" of other religious beliefs.

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