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Home   News   Russian court rejects call to ban Bhagavad Gita

Russian court rejects call to ban Bhagavad Gita

December 28, 2011

Poush Shukla Chaturthi , Kaliyug Varsha 5113

O Hindus, let us pay gratitude towards God for this success !

Updates


Russian court rejects call to ban Bhagavad Gita

December 28, 2011

A Russian court on Wednesday rejected prosecutors’ calls to ban the Bhagavad Gita, a case that provoked protests in India, by including it on a list of outlawed literature alongside Hitler’s Mein Kampf.

Russia hopes the ruling will dispel outcry in close ally India over the charges by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk that a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s most holy books, is hostile to other faiths.

After angry Indian lawmakers forced parliament to adjourn last week demanding the government protect Hindu rights, Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna condemned the case as “patently absurd” and told the body he had raised concerns with senior Russian officials.

Seeking to avert a diplomatic spat, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stressed that prosecutors had not attacked the holy book itself but a controversial preface written in 1968 by a founder of the Hare Krishna movement A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada entitled “As It Is”. The book was translated into Russian in 1984.

“I repeat this is not about the book per se, but about the unsuccessful translation and the preface written by the author,” spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in comments posted on the ministry’s website.

A leader of the Hare Krishna community in Tomsk, Ismailov Enver, expressed “relief” over the ruling and told Reuters the group welcomed it as a sign of “possible dialogue with the authorities”.

The Bhagavad Gita takes the form of a conversation between Hindu god Krishna and a prince called Arjuna prior to a battle. The book forms a bedrock of the Hindu belief system.

Rights activists say local officials have exploited Russia’s vaguely worded law on extremism in recent years to persecute religious groups frowned upon by the dominant Russian Orthodox Church.

Following trials brought by prosecutors across the country, Russia’s list of banned literature has grown to more than 1,000 texts including Jehovah’s Witness literature and works by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Turkish Islamic theologian Said Nursi.

Once a text is banned, its possession is a punishable crime.

Post-Soviet Russia recognises freedom of religion, though some activist worry that right is threatened by the Orthodox Church’s growing ties to the state.

The Church has undergone a revival since the fall of the Soviet Union ended decades of repression under Communism and reclaimed a privileged status as one of the country’s main traditional faiths.

In the past, it has repeatedly complained that other churches are poaching converts in its territory.

Source : Money Control

HC: Centre may represent India in Gita ban case

December 22, 2011

Mumbai, India: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed that the central government may consider representing the Indian position before the Russian court which is to decide on banning the Bhagwad Gita.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Wadala resident Vijay Dave and Santa Cruzbased Rasendu Nanavati, saying that the Indian government, through its embassy in Russia, has done little to inform the Siberian court about the correct interpretation of the sacred text.

Central government advocate Beni Chatterji told the high court that the statement of external affairs minister S M Krishna has addressed the prayers in the petition.

Counsel Mahendra Sethna and advocate Advait Sethna, appearing for the petitioners, objected saying Krishna’s statement only talks about the Indian embassy in Russia monitoring the matter closely.

To this, Justice Shah remarked, “But is the Indian government represented before the court?”

Sethna then informed the court that only “ISKCON is before that court not the government” . Pointing out that the verdict is to be pronounced on December 28, Sethna said, “Let them (the government) be frank before the country. We hope they are not playing as with other movements.”

The judges observed that while the government is seized of the matter, Krishna’s statement does not say if the Government of India is represented before the court in Russia. They adjourned the matter to January 9, 2011.

Source: TOI


HJS submits memorandum to the representative of the Russian Embassy

HJS demands not to ban Bhagvad Gita in Russia, Russians are against the ban on Hindu Scriptures says embassy Representative

Panaji (Goa, India): A memorandum on behalf of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) was given today to the representative from Goa, Adv. Rajeev Varma, in the Russian Embassy in Mumbai, stating that, there should not be any ban on ‘Bhagvad Gita’ in Russia. So also the human rights of the Hindus in Russia should be preserved. After this meeting, Adv. Rajeev Varma of the Russian Embassy, published a press note immediately, stating that, Russians had tremendous respect for Hindu Scriptures and most of them were against the ban on any of the Hindu Scriptures. Mrs. Rajashri Gadekar of HJS, Mr. Shivprasad Joshi of Hindu Mahasabha, Mr. Jayesh Thali of Gomantak Mandir and Dharmik Sanstha Mahasangh, Mr. Rajesh Korgaokar, Mr. Prasanna Dhage, Mr. Srikant Parsekar of Amma Bhagvan Sampraday, Mr. Sushant Dalvi were present while presenting the memorandum.

Adv. Varma has said in the press- note that is being published, “Mr. Sergey S Avanesov in the City of Tomsk, Siberia, Russia, had moved a motion in the Leninsky District Court. This is his personal opinion. The personal views of Mr. Sergey S Avanesov cannot be considered as opinion of the Russian community. The court has not yet given its verdict. Russian community respects Hindu Scrpitures. The Russian Community in Goa as a whole condemns the possibility of a ban on any of India’s ancient scriptures. It is felt by the Russian community in Goa as well as by a large section of Russians visiting Goa that the depth of knowledge and wisdom offered by the Bhagavadgita cannot be understood by a casual reader. It is well accepted that all the ancient Hindu scriptures are of tremendous importance not only to India but to the rest of the world. A very serious and baseless allegation is made by the Orthodox Church in the City of Tomsk, Siberia, in Russia that, ‘Bhagvad Gita encourages violence’ hence it should be banned.

Taking cognizance of this allegation, HJS in Goa has submitted the above mentioned memorandum. The memorandum states that, “Hindus are ill treated in Russia. It is a very serious matter to ban Bhagvad Gita. This is not a subject to be decided by the court, the result of which might have adverse effect on the relation between the two countries, Bharat and Russia. HJS has started a campaign all over the world against this ban on its website. It is getting tremendous response from all over the world. Conversion of Hindus to Christianity is rampant in other countries. It is also true that Hindu children are the targets of sexual abuse by Christians, specially Christian priests on a large scale. Under these circumstances, to ban Bhagvad Gita, will amount to adding oil to the fire. It is the need of the hour, not to ban Bhagvad Gita.”


Protest Letter to Russian Embassy by Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

Hindu Janajagruti Samiti

Regd. No. 1540/I-634,12112002

c/o : 8, Jayshree Siddhi Vinayak Co.Op.Hsg.Sy. Shivajinagar, Naupada, Thane 400602

Email : [email protected] Website : www.HinduJagruti.org

II Shree II

Date: 05.12.2011

To,

1. Russian Embassy in India
Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi – 110021
Phone : +91 11 26873799; 26889160; 26873802; 26110640/41/42
Fax : +91 11 26876823
E-mail : [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

2. Russian Embassy in Mumbai, India
42, L. Jagmohandas Marg (Old Nepean Sea Road),
“Palm Beach”, Mumbai – 400 036
Phone : +91 22 23633627, 23633628
Fax : +91 22 2363-04-03
E-mail : [email protected]

3. Prime Minister’s office ,

148 B,South Block,

Government of India,

New Delhi 110001,

Tel. 011-23012312, Fax: 011-23019545/23016857

Dear Sirs,

Sub : Request to stop banning Hindu religious text and protect religious and Human Rights of Hindus in Russia

We write to you on behalf of the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti is a Non Governmental Organisation working for religious awakening of Hindus and bringing Hindus and other Organisations on common platform for the welfare of the Nation and the Hindu Dharma. Our details can be obtained at www.hindujagruti.org.

This is in context of the injustice and harassment to Hindus in your country on the basis of religion. As reported in the media Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as “an extremist” literature across Russia. A court in Siberia’s Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict in a case filed by state prosecutors. The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June, seeks ban on a Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

The Hindus pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance from a “majority religious group in Russia”, and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld. Hindu groups in Russia, particularly followers of ISKCON, say the university was not qualified as it lacked Indologists who study the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent.

It may please be noted that issue is being taken up at the highest level in the Indian Parliament and also personally with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. This is very serious issue of hurting religious sentiments and attack on human rights. This issue can not be settled by whims and fancies of the religion haters and court in Russia. This may adversely affect a bilateral trade and strategic ties and personal friendship between two friendly countries. From this case, we feel that Indians settled in Moscow are not safe and free to live as per their religious practices and human rights. We have started mass campaign on our website against this atrocities and there is tremendous response world over.

The prosecutor’s case also seeks to ban the preachings of Prabhupada and ISKCON’s religious beliefs, claiming these were “extremist” in nature and preached “hatred” of other religious beliefs.”They have not just tried to get the Bhagavad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist,”. However a Noted Hindu studies expert, Boris Falikov, told The Moscow Times that the testimony was absurd.“The translation and comments made by Swami Prabhupada was called extremist because the quotes were taken out of context,” Falikov said.“Using such a nonscientific approach, you can even call the Quran or the Bible extremist literature,” he said. Indeed, the holy books of both Islam and Christianity contain norms no longer embraced by Western society, such as slavery and polygamy. Falikov pointed out that the original “Bhagavad Gita” is widely considered one of the most respected Hindu books and was admired by the likes of Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein. “I don’t think that they would admire the book if it really spread religious hatred and humiliated human dignity,” he said.

Further please note that Indians and people all over world are victimised by child abuse and forceful conversion by Christians .In fact most of the western people are living happy and peaceful life because of Indian and Hindu culture. Banning Bhagwat Geeta is and an insult to crores of devotees of Lord Krushna for which action should be taken against concerned by Russian Government.

In view of above you are requested to stop banning Hindu religious text which is need of the hour for peaceful living in the world.

Please acknowledge and inform us the about the action taken in the matter.

Yours Truely,
Shivaji Vatkar
Hindu Janajagruti Samiti
Tel No : 09322533595


Russia regrets Bhagavad Gita controversy

December 20, 2011

Margshirsh Krushna Dashami, Kaliyug Varsha 5113

Moscow: In the wake of an uproar over a move to ban the Bhagavad Gita in Siberia, Russia on Monday night expressed sadness over the development, saying it is “inadmissible” that a holy scripture is taken to court.

“It is strange that such events are unfolding in the beautiful university city in Siberia, as Tomsk which is famous for its secularism and religious tolerance,” Alexander M Kadakin, Russian Ambassador in India said in a statement.

“Well, it seems that even the lovely city of Tomsk has its own neighborhood madmen. It is sad indeed.”

“I consider it categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to the courts. For all believers these texts are sacred,” the Ambassador said.

“It is not normal either when religious books are sent for examination to ignorant people. Their academic scrutiny should be done at scientists’ fora, congresses, seminars, etc but not in courts,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Russian court on Monday suspended its verdict till December 28 on the demand for banning the Bhagavad Gita, which a group linked to the Christian Orthodox Church has described as ‘extremist’.

The move triggered strong protests by Members of Parliament earlier in day. They wanted the Indian Government to take up the matter strongly with Russia.

“Russia, as it is known to anyone, is a secular and democratic country where all religions enjoy equal respect. Even more applicable it is to the holy scriptures of various faiths – whether it is the Bible, the Holy Quran, the Torah, the Avesta and, of course, the Bhagavad Gita – the great source of wisdom for the people of India and the world,” the Ambassador said.

Source : IBN Live


Protest : Intolerant Russia to ban ‘Bhagavad Gita’

December 18, 2011
Margshirsh Krushna Ashtami, Kaliyug Varsha 5113

Moscow : Bhagavad Gita, one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as “an extremist” literature across Russia. A court in Siberia’s Tomsk city is set to deliver its final verdict Monday in a case filed by state prosecutors. (Christianity itself have ‘very long’ history of conversion of non-Christians through brutal and horrific Inquisitions. Many Christian troops have killed crores of non-Christians with ‘the Bible’ in one hand and a sword in other. Then how Christians can brand Hindu holy text as ‘Bhagavad Gita’ as ‘extremist and hostile’ ? Today millions of youth in western countries want to go away from Christianity. Millions of sex abuse cases by Christian priests are exposed uptil now. Now time has come for ‘The Church’ to rethink about their systems !)

The final pronouncement in the case will come two days after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his Dec 15-17 official visit for a bilateral summit with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev consolidated bilateral trade and strategic ties and personal friendship.

The case, which has been going on in Tomsk court since June, seeks ban on a Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita As It Is” written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

It also wants the Hindu religious text banned in Russia and declared as a literature spreading “social discord”, its distribution on Russian soil rendered illegal.

In view of the case, Indians settled in Moscow, numbering about 15,000, and followers of the ISKCON religious movement here have appealed to Manmohan Singh and his government to intervene diplomatically to resolve the issue in favour of the scripture, an important part of Indian epic Mahabharata written by sage Ved Vyas. (Hindus should not depend upon Congress leaders as they are already busy in ‘votebank’ politics and appeasing minorities. Now devout Hindus should unitedly fight lawfully against this ban !)

The ISKCON followers in Russia have also written a letter to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi, calling for immediate intervention, lest the religious freedom of Hindus living here be compromised.

“The case is coming up for a final verdict on Monday in Tomsk court. We want all efforts from the Indian government to protect the religious rights of Hindus in Russia,” Sadhu Priya Das of ISKCON and a devotee of a 40-year-old Krishna temple in central Moscow, told IANS.

The court, which took up the case filed by the state prosecutors, had referred the book to the Tomsk State University for “an expert” examination Oct 25.

But Hindu groups in Russia, particularly followers of ISKCON, say the university was not qualified as it lacked Indologists who study the history and cultures, languages, and literature of the Indian subcontinent.

The Hindus pleaded with the court that the case was inspired by religious bias and intolerance from a “majority religious group in Russia”, and have sought that their rights to practice their religious beliefs be upheld.

The prosecutor’s case also seeks to ban the preachings of Prabhupada and ISKCON’s religious beliefs, claiming these were “extremist” in nature and preached “hatred” of other religious beliefs.

“They have not just tried to get the Bhagavad Gita banned, but also brand our religious beliefs and preachings as extremist,” Das said.

Noted Hindu studies expert, Boris Falikov, told The Moscow Times that the testimony was absurd.

“The translation and comments made by Swami Prabhupada was called extremist because the quotes were taken out of context,” Falikov said.

“Using such a nonscientific approach, you can even call the Quran or the Bible extremist literature,” he said.

Indeed, the holy books of both Islam and Christianity contain norms no longer embraced by Western society, such as slavery and polygamy.

Falikov pointed out that the original “Bhagavad Gita” is widely considered one of the most respected Hindu books and was admired by the likes of Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein.

“I don’t think that they would admire the book if it really spread religious hatred and humiliated human dignity,” he said.

(Russians are supporting ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and opposing the ban on it. But still, many Hindu organisations and Media channels in India are keeping mum on this issue. Devout Hindus should ask explanation about this to these organisations and media !)

Russian anti-extremism legislation is notoriously vague, and the political opposition, especially nationalists, often accuse the authorities of manipulating the legal definition for crackdowns on unwanted groups.

The ISKCON devotees have taken up the matter with the Indian embassy in Moscow too for an early diplomatic intervention before things get worse and the court passes an adverse verdict banning the Bhagavad Gita and Krishna consciousness teachings.

In the Nov 1 letter addressed to Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Pulok Chatterji, ISKCON’s New Delhi branch Governing Body Commissioner Gopal Krishna Goswami, said the prosecutor’s affidavit claims Lord Krishna “is evil and not conforming to Christian religious view”.

Goswami also urged Manmohan Singh to accord priority to the matter during his Moscow stay and take it up with the Russian authorities.

Indian diplomatic corps officials at the embassy here, who were unwilling to be named, told IANS that they have been following up the case since the time it was brought to their notice earlier this year.

They had also taken up the matter at the appropriate levels in the Russian government to get the case either withdrawn or get the defence to fight the case to obtain a favourable verdict.

Officials at the Indian Prime Minister’s Office, who were part of the Indian delegation accompanying Manmohan Singh, confirmed to IANS the case and the letter they received from ISKCON in this regard.

“This matter is receiving the highest attention and the Indian embassy officials in Moscow have been instructed to follow up the case with the Russian authorities,” they said.

Source : Express Buzz and Moscow Times

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