India uproar at call in Russia to ban Bhagavad Gita

NEW DELHI Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:06pm IST

A member of the global Hare Krishna sect plays a trumpet during a protest outside the Russian consulate in Kolkata December 19, 2011. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

A member of the global Hare Krishna sect plays a trumpet during a protest outside the Russian consulate in Kolkata December 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Angry MPs forced parliament to close on Monday and protesters gathered outside a Russian consulate over a Siberian trial calling for one of Hinduism's most holy books to be put on a list of banned literature that includes Hitler's Mein Kampf.

The case filed by state prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk says a translation of the Bhagavad Gita is extremist because it insults non-believers, local media in Russia say.

"We will not tolerate an insult to Lord Krishna," members of parliament shouted, until the house speaker adjourned parliament for several hours.

The Bhagavad Gita takes the form of a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna prior to a battle. Its philosophical insights were praised by Albert Einstein and forms a bedrock of the Hindu belief system.

India and Russia enjoy close diplomatic and defence ties and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh returned from an annual visit to Moscow at the weekend. MPs demanded to know if he had raised the issue of the trial with Russian officials.

The translation up for trial is called "Bhagavad Gita as It Is," and is central to the global Hare Krishna movement. Members of the movement link the case against the text to the Russian Orthodox Church, which they claim wants to limit their activities.

Dozens of Hare Krishna adherents in orange robes shouted slogans and danced outside the Russian consulate in Kolkata, a Reuters witness said.

More than 20,000 people signed an online petition against the trial and the word Gita was one of the main Indian trends on Twitter on Monday.

Last year, Russian prosecutors banned Adolf Hitler's 1925 semi-autobiographical book 'Mein Kampf' in an attempt to combat the growing allure of far-right politics.

Post Soviet Russia recognises freedom of religion and names four -- Russian Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism -- as the nation's main religions.

Other beliefs, particularly sects or groups that try to convert people, are sometimes subject to pressure such as court cases, efforts to break them up and limits on gatherings.

India's foreign minister will address parliament on Tuesday about the government's position with regard to the Bhagavad Gita case.

(Writing by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Ron Popeski)

FILED UNDER:
Photo

After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.

OBAMA'S VISIT

Reuters Showcase

Coal Mining

Coal Mining

India to open coal to commercial mining firms soon, minister says  Full Article 

RBI Loan Rules

RBI Loan Rules

RBI relaxes overseas loan recast rules   Full Article 

E-commerce Firms

E-commerce Firms

Amazon, e-commerce rivals fuel commercial property boom in India  Full Article 

Growth Forecasts

Growth Forecasts

Indian economic growth forecasts pegged back, despite rate cuts: Reuters Poll.  Full Article 

Uber is Back

Uber is Back

Uber back in Delhi; govt says must await approval.  Full Article 

Markets at Record

Markets at Record

Sensex rises to record after ECB stimulus programme.  Full Article 

Pharma Sector

Pharma Sector

Ipca Labs hit by FDA ban on plant for standard violations.  Full Article | Related Story 

Forex Reserves

Forex Reserves

India FX reserves at record high as RBI fortifies defences  Full Article 

QE for Euro Zone

QE for Euro Zone

ECB launches 1 trillion euro rescue plan to revive euro economy.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage