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India asks Russia to resolve Gita controversy – Altamash Hashmi, CNN-IBN


New Delhi: India on Tuesday described a complaint about the Bhagvad Gita in Russia as patently absurd. The government also promised Parliament that it was taking the controversy seriously and was closely monitoring the case. But the BJP is not satisfied and has even asked the government to declare the sacred scripture as a national book.

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna assured Parliament on Tuesday that India has registered its protest to the Russian government on a petition seeking a ban on Bhagvad Gita in a Siberian court.

Krishna hoped that Russia would act appropriately on the Bhagvad Gita controversy.

"The complaint in a local Russian court appears to be the work of some ignorant and misdirected or motivated individuals. While this complaint is patently absurd, we have treated this matter seriously and the Embassy of India is closely monitoring this legal case," Krishna said.

The government believes that it can't do more than that because it's a Siberian court that has to decide on a ban on December 28.

But the South Block is hopeful because the court has asked academics and Indologists to help it decide if parts of the Russian translation of the Gita penned by the ISKON founder are extremist in nature or not.

India has also got support from the Russian government.

Sargei Karmileto, Russian Embassy Spokesperson, says, "Russian side regrets that the issue has reached such controversy . You can not ban any sacred text Bhagvad Gita is considered a sacred text in Russia as well."

But the critics haven't been satisfied. The BJP even demanded that the Gita be declared a national book to protect it from being dishonored ever again.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said, "Srimad Bhagvat Gita must be declared a National Book so that no country can ever engage in any act of insult to this book in the future. The government should be proactive. This ban must be removed."

There is also criticism that the government has delayed its intervention, ignoring ISKON's red alert on a possible ban, an alert sent to the prime minister's office and to Sonia Gandhi on 1st November.


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