The long-drawn out legal battle in the Russian Court came to an end with the dismissal of the case. The case was fought with the intention of banning the Bhagavad Gita branding it as ‘extremist’ literature which would put it in the same category as Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Hindus in Russia won the battle when a Siberian court threw out the plea of Prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk to ban the holy text.
The court in the Siberian city of Tomsk took up the case for a final hearing Wednesday morning and the judge, after reviewing the petition from the state prosecutors and the responses from the Hindus, dismissed the plea.
Judge Galina Butenko of the Leninsky District Court in Tomsk gave the final verdict stating that there were no grounds for recognizing “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” as extremist for the reason that the book was “one of the interpretations of the sacred Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.
The contentious commentary on the holy book was written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, whose full title is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.
Hare Krishna followers in Russia saw the case as part of efforts by the Russian Orthodox Church to restrict their activities.
The edition – Bhagvad Gita As It Is – is a book utilized by the Hare Krishna movement.
The Russian foreign ministry said it was the commentary on the text, not the text itself, which was under scrutiny.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna welcomed the judgment and expressed his gratitude to the Russian government for its support. The Ministry in a statement issued said: We appreciate this sensible resolution of a sensitive issue and are glad to put this episode behind us. We also appreciate the efforts of all friends in Russia who made this outcome possible.
Report by Radhalakshmi R