ANDHRA PRADESH

Three-day world atheist meet to begin on Jan. 6

Staff Reporter

The conference to discuss key issues



Former chairman of National Knowledge Commission to inaugurate the meet

Delegates from different countries to attend the event



VIJAYAWADA: Former chairman of the National Knowledge Commission P.M. Bhargava will inaugurate the seventh world atheist conference in the city on January 6.

Christened as ‘March of Atheism’, the three-day international meet will be organised at the Siddhartha auditorium on the premises of the P.B. Siddhartha College of Arts and Science by the Atheist Centre, Vijayawada.

“The conference will provide a common platform for atheists, rationalists, humanists, secularists and free thinkers from across the length and breadth of the world to congregate, discuss threadbare key issues facing different nations and different modes of thrashing out a solution,” G. Vijayam, executive director of the Atheist Centre, told a press conference on Tuesday.

Founded in 1972

Levi Fragell, former president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (Norway), would preside over the meeting, while atheists and rationalists from different countries would form the participants.

Pointing out that Gora and Saraswathi Gora founded the local branch of Atheist Centre in 1972, he said ever since its inception, the organisation had been a rallying point for the breed of rationalists and free thinkers. Representatives of countries like the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium and the USA would deliberate upon issues that posed a major challenge to the present day atheism.

Some of the foreign delegates expected to attend the meet include president of the Belgium-based IHEU S. Soja Eggericks, Roy Brown from Switzerland, president of Finland Freethinkers’ Association Pekka Elo, Sam Ayache of Freethinkers’ Association, Paris, and Babu Gogineni, executive director of IHEU, London.

Among Indians, Narendra Nayak, president of the Federation of Atheists and Rationalists, Mangalore in Karnataka and Lavanam of Atheist Centre, Vijayawada, will be prominent participants.

The meet would highlight issues like the rising tide of religious fanaticism, fundamentalism, terrorism and parochialism and stress upon the need to develop and broader outlook to tackle them effectively. “The time has come to shun religion-based society, transcend boundaries and march towards a world of humanity. The focus will be on strengthening human rights and democracy.

An exclusive session for the youth is aimed at motivating the younger lot to contribute their mite in building a society sans caste, creed or any other discrimination,” Mr. Vijayam said.

Former MP and president of Vasavya Mahila Mandali Ch. Vidya, president-elect of the Indian Medical Association G. Samaram, Maru, Mythri and others were present.

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