No further appeal against Bhagvad Gita translation

Russian prosecutors have decided against taking forward their case seeking a ban on a translation of Bhagvad Gita, bringing to end an issue that had enraged Hindus worldwide and even threatened to strain Russia’s ties with India.

State prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk will not challenge a lower court decision to refuse to declare the translation of the Hindu scripture as “extremist”, RAPSI news agency reported.

The Tomsk Region Prosecutor’s Office had initiated the case in June 2011 following its inspection of the Tomsk Society for Krishna Consciousness.

They had claimed that the text of ‘Bhagavad Gita As It Is’ — a translation and commentary on the original scripture — was “extremist” literature full of hatred and insult to non-believers which promoted social discord.

The petition has already been dismissed by two courts.

In December last year, the Tomsk District Court refused a request to declare the book extremist, as it found no grounds to satisfy the lawsuit. The prosecutor’s office did not appeal the decision, but the Tomsk Region Court upheld it without amendments on March 21.

Vasily Voykin, a regional prosecutor, was quoted as telling told RIA Novosti on Tuesday that the Prosecutor’s
Office will not appeal the court’s decision.

The case had drawn a flurry of criticism from Hindus across the world.

When the petition was dismissed by the lower court in Tomsk in December last year, India had welcomed the verdict as a “sensible resolution of a sensitive issue”.

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna had asked the Russian government to help resolve the issue quickly.