Gita row:Krishna expresses concern to Russia

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today conveyed to Russian Ambassador Alexander Kadakin the country`s concern over the "sensitive" issue of a Siberain court hearing a petition seeking a ban on Bhagavad Gita. Ahead of the court hearing tomorrow, Krishna called Kadakin and told him that the Russian Government should provide all possible help to resolve the issue.

Taking up the issue, which has created a uproar in India, strongly with the Russian Ambassador, Krishna conveyed the sensitivities involved in the issue of seeking a ban on the religious scripture, sources said. During the meeting at Hyderabad House, Kadakin assured Krishna that the Russian Government will do all it can within its powers. "The External Affairs Minister conveyed the concerns of the Parliament of India and the people of India on the issue. The Russian side has been saying that it is a judicial process and that it will take all steps it can within its power (to resolve the issue)," a source said.

The Siberian court in Tomsk city will hear tomorrow petition from a group connected to the Christian Orthodox Church, seeking to declare the Gita an "extremist text." This is the second time in four days that the Russian envoy has been called by the Ministry of External Affairs to convey the country`s concerns on the issue. Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai had met Kadakin last week in this regard.

After the meeting, the Russian envoy told reporters that the Russian Government will do everything it can within in the realm of its powers. "You understand that it is a court case but the Russian Government can do one thing. It can ask the people to express our love and admiration for the Gita. That assurance you can get from anyone in Russia," he said. Kadakin said that he had himself read Gita and that any human being can have only one opinion on the scripture-Gita is a great scripture and it is a scripture of the world. The Russian Ambassador said his attitude on the issue remains the same that "no holy scripture, whether it is Bible, Quran or Gita can be brought to a court."

"I am of the opinion that no religious scripture can be judged in a court," the envoy said. During the meeting, Krishna and Kadakan also discussed the recent visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Russia and other issues. On the delivery of Nerpa nuclear submarine to India, Kadakin said it is on its way.