The Hindutva brigade in India has used violence and intimidation to cancel a Nastik Sammelan (get together of Atheists) in Mathura, in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Not surprisingly, they got support from their supposed to be enemies, the Islamic clerics. This happened to a meeting called by Swami Balendu at his ashram. Balendu was a Hindu spiritual guru, but has turned into an atheist few years ago.
“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,” Swami Balendu told The Hindu on phone from Mathura.
“Immediately after the attack, the Hindutva activists, accompanied by senior police officials, told us that the protest was a mere start and if we went ahead with the meeting then much bigger things could happen in the city,” he said.
“Even though it was a private event we had taken official permission. The Constitution permits us to be non-believers. But this seems like an all-out attack on the freedom of expression and the freedom to be a non-believer,” added Swami Balendu.