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Describing a legal move to ban the Bhagwad Gita in Russia as the work of “misdirected and motivated individuals”, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Tuesday said India has taken up the issue at the highest levels with the Russian government and hoped for a resolution.

A day after a belligerent opposition raised a furore in parliament over report about an ongoing court case in Tomsk, Siberia, on banning the Gita on grounds that it is extremist literature, Krishna said India was closely monitoring the case and has been consistently in touch with the Russian authorities.

“The officials of India in Moscow and our ambassador on Moscow have been in regular touch with representatives of the Iskcon. We have also taken up the matter at highest levels with the Russian government,” Krishna told the Lok Sabha.

“The embassy of India is closely monitoring the legal case,” Krishna said. He said the case was filed by some “misdirected elements with an absurd complaint”.

He said he hoped the matter would be resolved keeping in mind civilisational values of India.

In a last-ditch effort to save Bhagvad Gita from a ban, Hindus in Russia appealed to the Siberian court to seek the views of the nation’s human rights commission on the religious text and preachings, before pronouncing its verdict.

Following their last-minute plea, represented by their advocate Mikhail Fralov, the court in Tomsk city in Siberia has given the human rights panel 24 hours to come with its deposition. The court has deferred its verdict to Dec 28.

Underlining that the Gita was “above any cheap propaganda or attacks by motivated individuals”, Krishna said the Gita “described the very soul of the Indian civilisation.”

Krishna’s statement led BJP leader Sushma Swaraj to demand that the government declare the Bhagvad Gita a “national book”.

Krishna also stressed that the issue was taken with Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin and quoted from the envoy’s statement that described the Gita as “the great source of wisdom for the people of India and the world”.



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