Skip to main content

Attack on atheist meet: Vrindavan's German citizen seeks Embassy intervention to protect her right to live, think

Ramona, Apra and Balendu Goswami
By Our Representative
In an unusual move, Ramona Goswami, whose house was attacked in Vrindavan recently for calling a private meeting of atheists, has sought the urgent intervention of the German Embassy in Delhi for “support” and “protection” of her “human rights” to live in India, so that she is not not harassed by local administration and media on basis her “belief or non-belief.”
A German herself, Ramona is married to Balendu Goswami, who had organized the event. Living with their daughter Apra Goswami, who also carries a German passport and a PIO card like her, Ramona says, on October 14, her family organized the private programme on their property, “inviting scientific-minded, rationalist people to our place for discussions.”
“As we are non-believers, atheists from all over the country were expected to come to our home”, she says in the letter, regretting, however, “Unfortunately some locals opposed this programme and called for protests outside our home.”
Pointing out that “prior permission for the programme was taken even though it was a private programme”, she says, “On October 14, when guests had started arriving, a crowd came together to attack our meeting – and police officials urged us to cancel our event, saying they would not be able to guarantee security of our guests.”
Ramona says, although the programme was “cancelled” the attacks have continued, adding, “The city administration, under pressure of the crowd, came with a digger and tore an advertising sign as well as the ramp leading to our restaurant.” She adds, interestingly, “the ramps of our neighbours – equally built to cross the gutter – were not touched.”
Living in Vrindavan, UP, where her husband’s family has property, Ramona says in the letter, her family has been “running a charity school for unprivileged children over the past years”, where “children receive free food and education”, adding, “We offer yoga and ayurveda retreats at our ashram to support this charity further.”
Pointing out that this year they started running a restaurant called ‘Ammaji’s’, in which she is one of the four partners, Ramona says, “During the protests one of he guests, “a senior female photo journalist,“was pulled onto the road and beaten by the mob with the police standing by but not helping.”
“People started throwing stones and damaged our property, breaking new glass panel on the 1st floor of our restaurant. They were shouting paroles, threatening our lives. They had petrol with them, pouring it on our property, in order to set our home on fire, which was fortunately prevented”, she pointed out.
Identifying individuals who led the crowd, Ramona says, the problem particularly got aggravated after a Hindi daily’s Mathura edition called her as a ‘schemer’ of the atheist meeting, identifying her as 'Videshi sazish karta'.
Worse, Ramona says, a senior official from the neighouring city of Mathura came to her home on October 14, making inquiries about her working at the restaurant and whether she was legally allowed to live. “Speaking to my husband, who assured him that I was legally living here and had a PIO card. This officer threatened with the words ‘If I want, I will not let her live here for one more day’.”
Later, on October 22, the issue got “solved” when another senior officer from Mathura came and explained that she did have a PIO card and was thus legally allowed to live and even work in this country.
“My brother-in-law has filed an FIR complaint with the police against the rowdies protesting and damaging our property. Unfortunately no action has been taken”, Ramona says, adding, “A few of the protesters have continuously made efforts to defame us by giving wrong statements to local newspapers and asking for the arrest of my husband.”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.