In the wake of an uproar over a move to ban Bhagwad Gita in Siberia, Russia has expressed sadness over the development, saying it is "inadmissible" that a holy scripture is taken to court.
"It is strange that such events are unfolding in the beautiful university city in Siberia, as Tomsk which is famous for its secularism and religious tolerance," said Alexander M Kadakin, Russian Ambassador in India.
"Well, it seems that even the lovely city of Tomsk has its own neighbourhood madmen. It is sad indeed.
"I consider it categorically inadmissible when any holy scripture is taken to the courts. For all believers these texts are sacred," the Ambassador said.
Kadakin said, "It is not normal either when religious books are sent for examination to ignorant people. Their academic scrutiny should be done at scientists' fora, congresses, seminars, etc. but not in courts."
A Russian court had yesterday suspended its verdict till December 28 on the demand for banning Bhagavad Gita, which a group linked to the Christian Orthodox Church has described as 'extremist'.
The move had triggered strong protests by Members of Parliament who wanted India to take up the matter strongly with Russia.
"Russia, as it is known to anyone, is a secular and democratic country where all religions enjoy equal respect. Even more applicable it is to the holy scriptures of various faiths - whether it is the Bible, the Holy Quran, Torah, Avesta and, of course, Bhagavad-Gita -- the great source of wisdom for the people of India and the world," the Ambassador said.