Over 250 atheists from across the country gathered in Mumbai on Sunday on the occasion of the death anniversary of the freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, and called for solidarity in the face of rising religious intolerance.
The gathering also lamented the fact that police had failed to make any progress in the case related to the murder of noted anti-superstition activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar, who was shot dead by unknown assailants in Pune last August.
"The purpose of coming together here is to share thoughts within the community, and to send out a message to the society that there is nothing immoral in being an atheist," said Sanjay Savarkar, an organiser of the event, held at the University of Mumbai's suburban Kalina campus.
It was important for the freethinkers to come together when the religious intolerance was on the rise, he said.
The event had been organised to mark the death anniversary of Bhagat Singh, whose essay `Why I am an Atheist?' is well-known.
Information technology professional and former chief executive of L&T Infotech Achyut Godbole, writer J A Pawar and president of the Federation of Rationalists' Association of India Narendra Nayak, among others, spoke at the event.
"People ask me, are you afraid of god? I always say I am afraid of the agents of the god," Nayak said, adding that there are many atheists in the society but they need to display their lack of belief proudly.
Pawar expressed displeasure about police making no headway in Dr Dabholkar murder case and called for speeding up the investigation.