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Russian court resumes hearing on Gita ban

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 16:14

New Delhi: Putting to test India`s diplomatic skills to find an amicable solution to a Russian state prosecutors` bid to get Hindus` holy text Bhagavad Gita banned, a court in the Siberian city of Tomsk on Tuesday resumed hearing in the case ahead of the final verdict on Wednesday.

This has resulted in anxiety gripping 50,000 Hindus in Russia, as they feel there was a state-sponsored effort to proscribe "Bhagavad Gita As It Is", written by AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

Prosecutors had in late January filed an appeal against a Tomsk lower court`s dismissal of their original plea December 28, 2011 last.

"The case hearing on the prosecutors` plea to ban Bhagavad Gita resumed today (Tuesday)," Mikhail Frolov, the advocate for Hindus said over the phone from Tomsk city.

"The hearing today (Tuesday) lasted only for 15 minutes and was postponed till tomorrow (Wednesday)," Frolov said.

The case, originally filed in June 2011, had come to global notice in December when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was in Moscow for a summit meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

The case attracted a great deal of attention around the world, and in India in particular with its Parliament rocked for two days after members raised the issue of Russian prosecutors` attack on the Hindus` religious text and philosophical treatise.

This led to External Affairs Minister SM Krishna making a statement in Parliament on the Tomsk city case that was filed in June 2011 and the Indian government mounting a diplomatic effort at the "highest levels" with the Russian government to get the matter resolved.

On Monday, ahead of the Tuesday hearing, ISKCON international chief Bhakti Vijnana Goswami said over the phone that "anxiety is mounting" for the Hindus in Russia over the repeated attempts by the state prosecutors to ban Bhagavad Gita.

The appeal had first come up for hearing on March 6.

It will now be heard on Wednesday.


First Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 16:14
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