December 29th, 2011
11:05 AM ET
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - A Russian court has rejected a petition that sought to ban a Russian translation of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism's most important texts.
Hindus around the world expressed outrage after prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk said the scripture promoted extremism and social discord.
The billion-plus adherents of Hinduism consider the 700-verse Gita, written as a message from God taught by Lord Krishna, as sacred.
A district court rejected the complaint Wednesday, according to the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.
"We expected a fair decision - we got it," said Alexander Shakhov, a lawyer representing the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). "It shows that there are still sanity and open-mindedness in Russia."
Sanjeet Jha, the head of the Hindu Council of Russia, said whatever allegations had been made were baseless.
"Whoever decided to do this was without thorough knowledge of this ancient literature," said Jha, a businessman from India who has lived in Russia for two decades.
"We are very thankful to the honorable court," he said. "This case concerns not only Hindus living here in Russia but throughout the world. The Gita has great meaning in our culture and civilization."
Jha estimated Russia's Hindu population at about 200,000.
ISKCON said it was first notified of a complaint filed by the public prosecutor's office that objected to the third Russian edition of the Gita with commentary by ISCKON founder Swami Prabhupada.
The Hindu American Foundation in the United States said prosecutors took words from the Gita out of context and wrote a complaint to the Russian Embassy in Washington.
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