New Delhi, Dec 19: The move to ban Bhagwad Gita by a Siberian court led to a storm in the Lok Sabha today, with several members denouncing it and demanding that the government take it up strongly with Russia.
“We will not tolerate any move to insult Lord Krishna,” chanted RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who was supported by several members, angry over reports that a court in Tomsk was due to pronounce its verdict in a case calling for a ban on the Bhagwad Gita.
The reason for the reported move is that the Russian translation of a book ‘Bhagwad Gita As It is' written by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was apparently spreading “social discord”.
The issue was raised during Zero Hour by Bhratruhari Mahtab (BJD) who demanded that the Indian Embassy in Moscow should take the issue up with the Russian authorities, saying “the Gita does not preach hatred.”
Demanding that religious freedom of the Hindus in Russia should not be compromised, he said the ISKCON had also appealed in this regard to the Indian government.
As soon as he finished speaking, members of Shiv Sena, BJP, RJD, BSP, Samajwadi Party and even Congress member Ijyaraj Singh stood up and protested the move.
They also sought an immediate intervention by the government. Speaker Meira Kumar, while asking them to maintain order, advised them to submit notices to have a full-fledged discussion on the subject.
Lalu Prasad said the government should lodge a strong protest with Russia, adding “insult to Lord Krishna and the Gita will not be tolerated.”
SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shiv Sena's Chandrakant Khaire and BJP's Murli Manohar Joshi were on their feet while trying to make their point in an agitated manner.
In the melee, two CPI(M) members came to the aisle to demand resignation of Home Minister P Chidambaram on his reported statement linking Mullaperiyar dam and election politics in Kerala.
However, they went back to their seats after the Speaker asked them to go back.
As the protests over the Gita issue continued, Kumar adjourned the House till 2 PM.
A case filed in June this year, seeking a ban on the Russian translation of the ISKCON chief's book on Gita, is to come up for hearing in a court in Tomsk in Russia soon.
The petitioners there have argued that the holy book is extreme in nature and could cause social discord.
The ISKCON argument is that the proponents of the case have not consulted any Indologist and have based their arguments on misplaced information.
In Kolkata, monks belonging to ISKCON sect today staged a demonstration in front of the Russian consulate here decrying any move by a Siberian court to ban Bhagwad Gita across Russia.
Holding placards and posters and chanting ‘Hare Rama, Hare Krishna' to the beating of drums and cymbals, nearly 100 monks of International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) appealed to all MPs to pass a resolution in Parliament condemning the action of a group linked to the Christian Orthodox Church which has moved a Russian court seeking a ban the holy book by describing it as ‘extremist'.
“These initiatives of the Tomsk Prosecutor's office offend the religious sentiments of all followers of Hinduism and bring disgrace to the country of Russia,” the ISKCON posters said.
“Gita, the holiest Hindu scripture, is facing a legal ban and the prospect of being branded as an extremist literature across Russia,” they said.