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India: Story of a Humanist Campaign in Andhra Pradesh Against Religious Exploitation of a Child

by Babu Gogineni, 16 December 2009

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For the last few weeks Humanists, Rationalists and Human Rights activists have been waging a huge battle against the forces of fundamentalism in Andhra Pradesh. This is a battle where all sections of society, and in which the media, the police, the justice system, aggressive fundamentalists, the Dalai Lama as well as the Humanists and Rationalists are involved. It is a battle that is being watched with keen interest by millions of homes as it unfolds on live TV and through public discussions, newspaper articles and also in homes.

The campaign started publicly with a complaint made by Babu Gogineni in the name of IHEU along with a dozen collaboratoring intellectuals and organisations with the Andhra Pradesh Human Rights Commission. The campaign’s slogan Sambhavi Gudilona Badilona? has now become the byword for TV programs, for newspaper articles and also discussions as all citizens are challenged to take a stand whether Sambhavi, a child of 7, who it is claimed is a reincarnation of a Buddhist goddess should be in school or remain in the temple. Everyone has an opinion, most of them agreeing with the Humanists.

This is also a story which has catapulted Humanists and Rationalists into the limelight as superstition, religious privilege and human rights clash publicly in Andhra Pradesh state which is home to 90 million Telugu speaking people - the second largest language group in India.

[To read the full text see the attached PDF document.]

Sambhavi Gudilona Badilona