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Ravi Kumar Atheist: The Indian man fighting to be godless
An Indian man is fighting for the right to believe in the non-existence of God. But Ravi Kumar's quest for a document granting him legal recognition for his status has got him into trouble with the authorities. The BBC's Geeta Pandey reports from Tohana village in northern India.
With two large tattoos that declare him to be an "atheist" covering his forearms, 33-year-old Ravi Kumar says he realised there was no God when he was just six or seven.
"On Diwali every year my father bought a lottery ticket and prayed to the Goddess Lakshmi but he never hit the jackpot. And then one day, four boys were beating me up and I prayed to Lord Krishna for help, but he didn't come to my rescue," he says.
Sitting at his two-room home in Tohana, about 250km (155 miles) from the capital, Delhi, he shows me his "most prized possession" - a certificate that says he belongs to "no caste, no religion and no God".
Issued on 29 April on a Haryana government letterhead, it is signed by a local Tohana official.
But unfortunately for him, the authorities revoked it a week later - they said they had "exceeded their jurisdiction" and asked him to return it.
Ravi Kumar refused and instead filed an appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In September, the high court dismissed his petition. The judge said that Article 25 of the constitution guaranteed him "the right to claim that he is an atheist" but that there really was no legal requirement for such a certificate.
Le combat judiciaire d'un indien pour être reconnu comme athée et sans caste.
Tag(s) : #sectes, #religions, #Athéisme, #ex-adeptes
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