" No God, no caste, no religion" : Haryana withdraws the certificate to the man the week after it was issued
CHANDIGARH/CHENNAI: Less Than A Week After The Year-Long Fight Of A 32-Year-old Man To Renounce His Caste And Religion, The Government Finished Him A Certificate" No God, No Cabinet, No Religion," The Authorities In A U-When On Saturday Said They Had" Exceeded Their Jurisdiction" And Would Withdraw The Document.
Ravi Kumar, Die Now ' Atheist ' Since His Last Name, A Tohana Native, Was Only A Child When He Had A Moment Of Brightness. Some Boys Beat Him One Day And He Prayed Fervently To God To Save Him. The Strokes Continued To Rain. That Were The First Seeds Of Doubt. Nothing That Happened In His Poor Life Then Strengthened His Faith In God.
First The Tattoos Came On His Arms That Boldly Pinched 'Atheist' And Later Ravi Decided To Remove All Appearances And Get Official Recognition As An Atheist. In 2018, He Filed A Civil Lawsuit With A Fatehabad Court And Urged The Haryana Department To Change His Name To Ravi Kumar Atheist On His Academic Papers. The Court Ruled In Its Favor The Same Year.
Months After Winning The Legal Battle, Ravi Approached The District Administration Of Fatehabad And Eventually Received A Certificate" No Caste, No Religion, No God" On April 29.
But His Victory Was Short-lived When The Fatehabad Government Declared On Saturday That It Was Withdrawing Certification. Deputy Commissioner Dhirendra Khadgata Told TOI That His Subordinates Had" Misinterpreted The Court's Directions" .
Khadgata Said:" The Court Ordered That Ravi Should Be Allowed To Use" Atheist" As His Last Name In His Documents, But District Officials Gave Him A Certificate With Additional Comments, Which Exceeded Their Jurisdiction. The Back."
However, Ravi Claimed That He Approached The Fatehabad Deputy Commissioner After The Local Tehsildar Rejected Him." The Deputy Commissioner Had Checked My Background, My Documents Verified And The Tehsildar Ordered Me To Give A Certificate," He Said.
He Now Grabs For The Precious Certificate And Is Ready To Fight A New Legal War If Someone Tries To Declare It Invalid. Procedures And A Thorough Verification Process Followed. Let The Administration Send Me A Notification And I Will Answer," He Said.
Ravi Said He Had Been Fighting Discrimination, Abuse, And Threats Until Now And He Would Not Fall Back." People Have Stopped To Accept Me Even Since I Was Explained An Atheist. Why Is It So Hard For An Indian To Give Up His Religion If He Wants," He Said.
Downstairs, In The South Of Tamil Nadu, Sneha, Who Became The First Indian To Receive A 'no Caste, No Religion' Certificate, Also Had It Not Easily. She Must Also Be Constantly Confronted With Abuse And Threats. The 35-year-old Lawyer, Who Started The Process Of Being Officially Without Religion Or Caste In 2010, Says That Nothing Prepared Her For The Provocative Questions Or The Barrage Of Criticism That Arose After Receiving The Tehsildar Certificate From Tirupattur, TS Sathiyamoorthy In February 2019.
" When I Was In School, My Parents Left The Sections Where Caste And Religion Were White. There Is No Mention Of Caste Or Religion In Any Of My School Transfer Certificates. I Grew Up With These Values. N Certificate Only One Of Many Ways To Fight The Caste System In India," She Said.
When Sneha Applied To Get Official Recognition That She Had No Caste And Religion, She Kicked A Storm In Official Corridors.
" I Was Questioned And Investigated Why I Needed A Certificate And If I Would Use It To Get A Benefit To The Government. Many Feared That A Certificate Would Have Extensive Implications And Even Affect The Reservation Policy Intended For Marginalized People If More Would Be Inspired By Me To Follow The Example," She Said.
But There Have Been Some Who Supported Sneha And Some Who Contacted Her And Asked How They Could Get A Similar Certificate.
Sneha Now Plans To Approach A Judicial Forum To Request That A Government Order Be Issued To Allow Authorities To Issue" No Caste, No Religion" Certificates To People Who Request It." It Depends On The Tehsildar's Discretionary Powers, But I Want A GO. People Say India Is Secular, Why Can An Indian Not Be Secular?" She Says.
(With Import From Priya Menon In Chennai)