A conference of atheists, slated to be held in Pune on Sunday, was postponed after police said that the event on the day of Hindu festival Ram Navami could lead to a law and order situation, the organisers told The Indian Express.
The conference, scheduled to be held at the city’s SM Joshi Foundation Hall between 10 am to 1 pm on Sunday, was organised by a group called Shaheed Bhagat Singh Vicharmanch
Nitin Hande, one of the organisers of the event, said he was informed by the police that some Hindutva outfits had objected to the event, PTI reported. The police, however, did not name any outfit or person, he added.
“They [police] said some organisations have claimed that the atheist conference is planned on Ram Navami for hurting the sentiments of the believers,” Hande said, according to The Indian Express. “Police expressed fear of law and order situation.”
The organisers told the police that the event was an indoor programme and did not intend to hurt anybody. “It is meant for those who believe in scientific approach, humanity, modernity, atheism and principles of our Constitution,” Hande said.
The police then asked the organiser to postpone their conference to April 24.
“The police sent us a letter, asking us to postpone the event, but did not mention the Ram Navami point,” Hande said, according to PTI. “They mentioned in the letter that since the organisers have not given police the clear outline of the event and scripts of speeches by speakers, they are requesting us to postpone the event.”
Hande added that the police had never asked for scripts of speeches to be made at their earlier events.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramakant Mane said that the event was asked to be postponed as police officers in the city were already occupied with duties on the occasion of Ram Navami, The Indian Express reported.
“We have not received any complaint from any outfit for opposing the atheist conference,” he added.