After a Siberian district court in late 2011 rejected a petition seeking a ban on a Russian translation of the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita, Tomsk Region Prosecutor General Vasily Voikin has demanded that a Russian comment included in the scripture be banned, his deputy said on Thursday.
“The prosecutor demanded that a Russian translation of a comment in this book, earlier published in English, be banned as extremist, not the canonical text of the scripture,” Tomsk Region Prosecutor General Ivan Semchishin said.
The initial claim was filed in June 2011 and the trial prompted a flurry of highly critical publications in the international media. A day before the Siberian court rejected the petition, India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna met with Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin and called on him and the Russian government to provide help to resolve the issue quickly.
"The bid to ban the Russian translation of Bhagavad Gita has been misunderstood," Tomsk Region Prosecutor General Alexander Buksman said, “it’s important to discern gems form the chatter in this very case; the society’s perception of this issue is that prosecutors are standing against the concepts of this religion [Hinduism].However, the problem is that the Russian translation has paragraphs that could be seen as promoting extremism; prosecutors started the case for that reason,” Buksman said.
“The prosecutor [Voikin] is now maintaining his claims in an appeal court for that very reason,” Semchishin added.
Bhagavat Gita was first published in Russia in 1788 and since then has been republished many times in various translations.
The disputed Russian translation of “Bhagavad Gita: As It Is” was written by founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.