RELIGIOUS LEADERS and locals on Friday protested at the ashram of Swami Balendu, popularly known as ‘Atheist Guru’, at Vrindavan in Mathura after he announced that he would organise a two-day “atheist conclave”.
The district administration, which had earlier given permission for the event, cancelled the same on the ground that it may hurt religious sentiments. The organisers too later announced that they would not go ahead with the conclave.
Spiritual guru-turned-atheist Swami Balendu had invited like-minded atheists, friends and acquaintances to his ashram in for the conclave on October 14 and 15. He had also briefed mediapersons about the event on Thursday, when he allegedly said that religion had become a “business” that thrives on fear in the minds of people. While dubbing religion as “poison”, he also reportedly compared gods with comic characters.
“Swami Balendu claimed that all religious scriptures are fictitious and meant only for entertainment. His statement is against Hinduism and such leaders should be banned,” said Swami Phool Dol Das Maharaj, a sant from Vrindavan, who was among the protesters. Mohammad Umar Quadri, Imam of Shahi Jama Masjid of Mathura, said Balendu is a “publicity seeker” and has no right to hurt the feelings of believers.
“Over 100 protesters reached Bindu Seva Sansathan Ashram around 10 am and started raising slogans and attacking ashram property. Armed with sticks, the protesters, including spiritual leaders, broke glass panels,” said Swami Yashvendu Goswami, brother of Balendu. The police pacified the protesters. “They decided to cancel the event as it was creating alaw and order issue,” said Mathura SP (City) Alok Priyardarshi.