Indian parliamentarians urged the government on Monday to diplomatically intervene in a Russian trial that might order a ban on one of the holiest Hindu scriptures, the Bhagavad Gita, local media reported.
A court in the Siberian city of Tomsk is expected to announce a verdict on Monday whether to impose a ban on the Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita As It Is,” written by founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Prosecutors claim that the scripture promotes extremism.
During an Indian parliamentary session on Monday, the leader of the Biju Janata Dal political party, Bhartruhari Mahtab, called on the government to ensure the rights of Hindus in Russia in view of the possible ban.
“I want to know from the government what it is doing. The religious rights of Hindus in Russia should be protected. The government should impress upon the Russian authorities through diplomatic channels,” India Today daily quoted Mahtab as saying.
Mahtab’s mention of the issue plunged the parliament into chaos, the newspaper said, with other parliamentarians wanting to speak on the subject. Parliament’s Speaker Meira Kumar was forced to adjourn the session for several hours.
The Russian Embassy in India said it is closely following the situation in India and the trial in Tomsk.
“The Embassy can not comment on the course of the trial, but it closely follows the development of events, which raised a great public concern in India,” Nana Mgeladze, a spokeswoman for the embassy, said.
Bhagavat Gita was first published in Russia in 1788 and since then has been republished many times in various translations, she added.