Russian prosecutors are seeking a ban on a Hindu holy book, claiming it is extremist literature. In December, a court in Tomsk in Siberia should hold a final hearing on the book “Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is.” This is a Russian version of the ancient Hindu text translated from the annotated English edition by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The Russian prosecutors say the book incites religious hatred and enmity and ask the court to ban it as extremist. If the court agrees, the book will become illegal in all of Russia. The trial has caused an uproar in India and has also sparked protests in Russia. Ahead of the final court hearing, India’s external affairs minister, S M Krishna, met with the Russian ambassador to express his concerns over the issue. The Indian ambassador to Russia, Ajai Malhotra, called the procedures in Tomsk “absurd” and “bordering on the bizarre.” The Russian Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, concurred: “Well, it seems that even the lovely city of Tomsk has its own neighborhood madmen.” Last week scores of Indian right-wing activists burnt the Russian flag in New Delhi in protest against a possible ban of the Gita. However, Russian authorities have rejected the complaints. “This is not about the book itself but about a poor translation and the preface written by the author," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich.
UPDATE: Court Refuses to Hold Gita Extremist