Violent protests scupper an atheist convention in India

Violent protests scupper an atheist convention in India October 15, 2016

A two-day atheism convention that was to commence in Mathura yesterday was called off after violent protests by local religious leaders and the public.
The conference had been organised by Swami Balendu, above, a former Hindu preacher and spiritual guru who became an atheist.
Confirming the cancellation of the convention at Balendu’s ashram in Mathura, Alok Priyadarshi said that since local residents and religious leaders were protesting, the organiser called it off and gave an assurance that no conferences that hurt religious feelings would be held in the town again.
Accusing Balendu of spreading “anti-religion” feelings, residents shouted slogans at the venue of the convention and indulged in stone pelting. However, no one was injured in the incident.
In this report, Balendu is quoted as saying:

Over 50 activists of the VHP, the Bajrang Dal and local Hindutva groups reached the Bindu Seva Sansathan Ashram at about 10 in the morning and started shouting slogans and attacking the ashram property. Armed with sticks, the Hindutva activists broke the glass panels of the ashram belongings.

Some of the religious thugs who targeted Balendu's ashram
Some of the religious thugs who targeted Balendu’s ashram
The protestors also burnt an effigy of Balendu and accused him of spreading lies adharam (immorality)
Balendu had accused religious leaders of fooling people in the name of God. He had identified religion as a “business” that thrives on fear in the minds of people and said all religious scriptures are “fictitious”and meant only for entertainment.
In an interview in 2015, the “atheist guru” said:

We need to spread rational thinking and teach our children how to think, not what to think! Only through that can we save future generations from exploitation based on superstition and religion. That’s what it really is about, stopping exploitation and saving people from being cheated.
My fight is actually against poverty and exploitation. God and religion just came in between.

After he ditched religion Balendu embarked on a career of teaching  yoga, and people from all over the world came to learn from him.

We now provide relaxing courses, training, retreats and holidays with yoga and ayurveda at our ashram in Vrindavan.
We focus on physical exercise, oils and nutrition. We even offer Ayurvedic cooking classes, and all this without making false claims of curing cancer etc as some yoga gurus do. People come from all over the world and love getting this experience without the danger of being brainwashed by religious and spiritual gurus.

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  • Tom Petty

    There are millions of people like him (though not quite so brave or possibly reckless) who know that religion is a scam used by hucksters under the threat of extreme violence for the purpose of securing power over and extorting money from the masses. In places like Pakistan Iran Saudi Arabia saying, or being accused of saying, something rash can easily cost you your life. In civilised countries you run the risk of being ostracised by your family. Across the spectrum religion relies on threats to maintain power. And it books are pure hate speech and should be destroyed and rewritten with all the nasty stuff taken out.

  • AgentCormac

    Intolerance and intimdation win the day again. One day people will look back on these times with utter disbleief (and hopefully no belief).

  • Part of india’s fine tradition of atheism.

  • L.Long

    Religion … the gathering together of frighten little children old enough to have weapons and use them to help reduce their fear and damage their souls.

  • Broga

    Any challenge, or even mild criticism, of their delusions and fantasies upsets them. Their faith is fragile, their beliefs based on the flimsiest of structures and their certainty shot through with a myriad of doubts. So holding their daft beliefs together is hard work.
    We see the same thing here. When did you, or will you, ever see a bishop in a free and open discussion on the BBC with an atheist. Never. The message has to be one way. The debate has to be censored. Meanwhile the world goes to hell and the flames are fuelled by religion.

  • Tom Petty

    A dead man walking.

  • Newspaniard

    I thought that India was a fairly laid back tolerant country compared with the sh*t holes which are their islamofascist neighbours. Was I completely mistaken?

  • Broga

    @Newspaniard: In any country there are always pompous, up their own arses religiophiles who want to show their faith by abusing any who disagree. They are impervious to reason, dismissive of evidence and certain in their own uncertainty. I have met many these so called “people of faith.”
    I remember one who said she didn’t need to discuss my dispute with her religious beliefs as she had read the bible. That confirmed her belief which could not be shaken. Nor could it.

  • 1859

    @Newspaniard: Hindus and muslims have been butchering each other in India for generations. This is why Gandhi fasted to near death after Indian independence to try and stop the bloodshed. Even today the two communities show only a suspicious tolerance towards each other.

  • AJ

    “the organiser called it off and gave an assurance that no conferences that hurt religious feelings would be held in the town again.”
    How will that work? A conference of one religion may hurt the “religious feelings” of another religion. So no, zero, zilch conferences can be held in the town if it has the merely hint of religion associated with it. Or are double standards at play and it’s only conferences that refute their various sky fairies that are banned? I reckon it will be the latter.

  • barriejohn

    AJ: You must be right. Most evangelical churches that I attended had an enormous “text” displayed above the platform, and sometimes outside the building as well. A great favourite (displayed by Billy Graham in every “crusade” of his) was: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me”. THAT wouldn’t hurt the feelings of any believers in an alternative deity, would it?