India has asked Russia to drop a court case against a translation of the Bhagavad Gita, while Russian ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin criticised as “madmen” those from the Siberian city of Tomsk who have sought a ban on the scripture which is part of the Mahabharata.

Hours before Mr. Kadakin released the statement in Mumbai late on Monday night, a Russian court adjourned the case till December 28 to hear the views of Indologists from Moscow and the Russian ombudsman on the Bhagavad Gita and the minority rights.

Embassy moves officials

The Indian embassy in Moscow took up the matter with senior Russian officials, seeking the government's favourable and positive intervention, Indian ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra said.

State prosecutors in Tomsk are seeking a ban on the Bhagavad Gita, alleging that it promoted extremism and sowed social discord.

Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin earlier said the attempt to ban the book amounted to infringement of the constitutional right to the freedom of consciousness.

Prosecutors said it was not the original Bhagavad Gita that they found offensive, but some commentaries allegedly insulting non-believers in the book written by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON).

The case is built on testimony from local professors of philosophy and philology that the book expresses religious hatred and discriminates on the basis of gender, race, nationality and language. Mr. Malhotra raised a strong objection to the charges.