New Delhi: A day before a Siberian court delivers its verdict on demands to ban the Gita, Iskcon, which is spearheading the campaign to prevent a negative ruling, on Tuesday thanked both Indian and Russian governments for their support and intervention to resolve the row.
Chief of Iskcon, Moscow, Bhakti Vijnan Swami said the organisation as well as members of the Indian community in Russia are particularly concerned about the possible negative impact the case may have on Indo-Russia relations.
"We are concerned about the fallout of the case. We do not want the case to stand between relationship of both the countries," he said expressing confidence that Russian government will do whatever is possible to "stop the absurd case."
A court in Siberia's Tomsk District is set to pronounce a verdict on a petition seeking a ban 'Bhagwat Gita' in Russia, translated by Iskcon's founder A C Bhaktived Swami Prabhupada.
"If government of India had not taken up the matter, then they would have banned the Gita by now," he said.
Noting that there had been two unsuccessful attempts to ban the 'Bhagwat Gita' in Russia previously, Vijnan said reason behind the attack on the Gita was "religious bigotry" as certain groups in that country were upset about increasing popularity of the Hindu scripture as well as of Iskcon.
"There is some religious bigotry behind the attack because in the plea which is submitted by the prosecutors and in the expert opinion given to the court, the whole discussion is about how the concept of God in Gita is not compatible with the Christian conception even though they claim they are trying to find some extremist statement," he said. Claiming that these elements will seek ban of Iskcon also after demanding ban on Gita, Vijnan said the "case is against the scripture and not against certain commentaries of Swami Prabhupada."
He also alleged that people behind the attempt to ban the Gita had managed to influence a section of Russian Officials who are helping them in the case.
"We had tried to resolve the case amicably and had gone to the prosecutor's office trying to settle the case. But they did not want to listen to us," he said, noting that following the court case, the sale of Gita in Russia has almost doubled.
He said 50,000 people have expressed their support to Iskcon in an online campaign.
The Siberian court on December 19 had suspended its verdict till December 28 following a request by Iskcon to seek opinion of the Russian ombudsman.
The Russian ombudsman Vladimir Lukin in his statement had declared that "Bhagavad Gita As It Is" written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is a globally respected book, and it was unacceptable to seek a ban on it in Russia.
Vijnan also thanked Indian Ambassador in Russia Ajai Malhotra for his "active support".