Russia: No further appeal against Bhagavad Gita translation

published on June 2, 2012

Moscow, Jun 1: Russian prosecutors have decided against taking forward their case seeking a ban on a translated version of Bhagavad Gita, bringing down the curtains on the sensitive issue that had enraged Hindus globally and even threatened to strain Russia’s ties with India.

State prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk will not challenge a lower court decision to refuse to declare the translation of the Hindu scripture as “extremist”, RAPSI legal news agency reported.

The Tomsk Region Prosecutor’s Office had initiated the case in June 2011 following its inspection of the Tomsk Society for Krishna Consciousness.

They had claimed that the text of ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’ — a translation and commentary on the original scripture — was “extremist” literature full of hatred and an insult to non-believers which promoted social discord.

The petition has already been dismissed by two courts.

In December last year, the Tomsk District Court refused a request to declare the book extremist, as it found no grounds to satisfy the lawsuit. The prosecutor’s office did not appeal the decision, but the Tomsk Region Court upheld it without amendments on March 21.

Vasily Voykin, a regional prosecutor, was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti on Tuesday that the Prosecutor’s Office will not appeal the court’s decision.

The case had drawn a flurry of criticism from Hindus across the world.

When the petition was dismissed by the lower court in Tomsk in December last year, India had welcomed the verdict as a “sensible resolution of a sensitive issue”.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had asked the Russian government to help resolve the issue quickly.

Bhagavad Gita was first published in Russia in 1788 and since then it has been republished many times in various translations.

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