THE TIMES OF INDIA: BHUBANESWAR: The Vishwa Hindu Parishad ( VHP) and International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) have said they would fight "internationally" to thwart attempts of banning the sacred "Bhagavad Gita" in Russia after the state prosecutors in Tomsk recently moved an upper court against a lower court's decree on rejection of the ban appeal.
"We came to know that fresh attempts have been made to ban Bhagavad Gita after a lower Russian court rejected such an earlier attempt on December 28. The state prosecutors moved an upper court against the decision last month. We will fight it internationally to protect the rights of Hindus and their identity," VHP's international working president Pravin Togadia told TOI during his Odisha visit here on Wednesday.
Foreign Iskcon devotees, who were cheerful following the December 28 verdict by the Tomsk court, are also gearing up for the second battle to salvage the pride of Hinduism.
"The upper court at Tomsk in Russia has set March 6 as the date of hearing the pleas of state prosecutors. We will oppose it tooth and nail. We want support of Indians from across the globe to save the Bhagavad Gita," said Mikhail Frolov, a Russian Iskcon devotee at a press conference in Puri on Tuesday. A lawyer by profession, Frolov said he was assisting a team of lawyers, representing Iskcon in trial court in the case.
"Bhagavad Gita As It Is", a Russian version of Iskcon founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's translation and commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita, kicked up a world-wise storm last year with the state prosecutor's office in Tomsk alleging that the book promotes "religious extremism". The move had triggered strong protests by members of Parliament who wanted India to take up the matter strongly with Russia.
"Iskcon never promotes extremism and violence. We will fight peacefully and spiritually against the nefarious attempts to ban Gita. Bhagavad Gita has transformed our lives and helped us understand the essence of life," an Italian Iskcon pilgrim Mayapur Chandra Das said.