`Ban Gita` court battle restarts in Russia

Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012 - 00:49

Moscow: Nearly two months after a Russian
court rejected a ban on a translated version of Bhagvad Gita,
a top Siberian prosecutor has now demanded the removal of a
Russian comment only from the book for being "extremist",
without affecting the canonical text of the scripture.

On December 28, a court in the Siberian city of Tomsk had
rejected a petition seeking a ban on the translated version of
Bhagvad Gita, a verdict which was welcomed by India as a
"sensible resolution of a sensitive issue".

Tomsk Region Prosecutor General Vasily Voikin has now
demanded that "a Russian translation of a comment in this
book, earlier published in English, be banned as extremist,
not the canonical text of the scripture," his deputy Ivan
Semchishin was quoted as saying by `Ria Novosti` today.

The original petition seeking a ban on the translated
version of the holy scripture was filed in June 2011 and the
trial prompted a flurry of criticism from across the world.

A day before the Siberian court rejected the petition,
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had asked the Russian
government to help resolve the issue quickly.

"The bid to ban the Russian translation of Bhagavad Gita
has been misunderstood," Alexander Buksman, a Tomsk region
prosecutor, said.

"It`s important to discern gems from the chatter in this
very case; the society`s perception of this issue is that
prosecutors are standing against the concepts of this religion
(Hinduism).

"However, the problem is that the Russian translation has
paragraphs that could be seen as promoting extremism;
prosecutors started the case for that reason," Buksman was
quoted as saying.

Voikin "is now maintaining his claims in an appeal court
for that very reason," Semchishin added.

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

The controversial Russian translation of "Bhagavad Gita:
As It Is" was carried out by founder of the International
Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A C Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 18:11

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