‘FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER ATTACK’
Sanal Edamaruku, well known rationalist, under threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle”
On 10th March, Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Rationalist International, flew to Mumbai. The TV channel , TV-9 had invited him to investigate a “miracle” that caused local excitement. He went with the TV team to Irla in Vile Parle to inspect the crucifix standing there in front of the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni. This crucifix had become the centre of attraction for an ever growing crowd of believers coming from far and wide. The news of the miracle spread like wild fire. For some days, there were little droplets of water trickling from Jesus’ feet. Hundreds of people came every day to pray and collect some of the “holy water” in bottles and vessels.
Sanal Edamaruku identified the source of the water (a drainage near a washing room) and the mechanism how it reached Jesus feet (capillary action). The local church leaders, present during his investigation, appeared to be displeased. See the
investigation in detail on YouTube.hours later, in a live program on TV-9, Sanal explained his findings and accused the
concerned Catholic Church officials of miracle mongering, as they were beating the big drum for the drippling Jesus statue with
aggressive PR measures and by distributing photographs certifying the “miracle”
A heated debate began, in which the five church people, among them Fr. Augustine Palett, the priest of Our Lady of Velankanni
church, and representatives of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) demanded that Sanal apologize. But Sanal refused and argued against them. [The whole TV program is recorded. You can watch an abridged version of it on
When they saw Sanal refused to bow to their demands, they threatened to file a blasphemy case against him. And they did. On (10th April,2012, Sanal received a phone call from a Police official of Juhu Police Station in Mumbai directing him to come to the said police station to face the charges and get arrested. He also said that FIRs have also been filed in Andheri and some other police stations u/s 295 of Indian Penal Code on the allegations of hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community.
Mumbai police has announced that they were out to arrest him. It is apprehended that he can be arrested any moment.
The filing of FIRs by Mumbai police and threatening to arrest a well known rationalist who has been exposing miracles and superstitious beliefs for more than three decades is a serious attack on the freedom of expression.
Clause (h) of Article 51-A of Constitution of India states that :‘It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop the scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform.’In exposing the said miracle, Sanal was performing his fundamental duty enshrined in our constitution.It is distressing that the Mumbai police has chosen to harass and victimize him for doing his fundamental duty.
‘Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee’ appeals to all progressive individuals and organizations to protest and oppose the reprehensible steps of the Maharashtra police in filing FIRs against Sanal and stand behind him in solidarity for the cause of scientific thinking and freedom of expression.
N.D.Pancholi 11 April, 2012
Convenor, Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee, “www.rationalistinternational.net.”
- Water from the cross of Irla. Indian atheist accuses Church of “manufacturing” miracles for money (mumbailaity.wordpress.com)
April 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm
I reject your reality and substitute my own
April 12, 2012 at 9:18 pm
This news needs to be made mainstream. It’s absolutely outrageous that a person can be charged with “blasphemy” for speaking the truth.
April 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm
pl do share widely andmake mainsteam it has got more than 10,000 hits in less thean 24 hours
April 13, 2012 at 3:48 am
Shared it on all my social networks, and also contributed $5 towards your defence fund. IMHO this is one of the most important issues facing India today. Giving offence and “hurting people’s sentiments” should NOT be a crime.
April 13, 2012 at 8:05 pm
I got this story posted to Slashdot…this will definitely increase awareness: http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/04/12/2332239/indian-man-charged-with-blasphemy-for-exposing-miracle
April 12, 2012 at 11:13 pm
Provide a rational explanation to a miracle, get arrested. Well done India, well done.
April 12, 2012 at 11:25 pm
How is blasphemy a law again?
April 13, 2012 at 3:12 am
I showed you where the water comes from and now I get arrested? Nice. Teach logic, get punnished!
April 13, 2012 at 6:06 am
As an evangelical Christian: Wow, this is ridiculous. Science is cool Christians, no need to arrest the guy. Doing so is quite a hypocritical act of arrogance, pride, and other crappy traits.
April 13, 2012 at 6:12 am
Heron of Alexandria invented a steam turbine 2,000 years ago but he was run out of town for duplicating the miracles of the priests and explaining how they were done. Everything from turning water into wine (double chamber and finger the air hole) to burning sacrifices on the altar opening the inner temple doors (steam).
All religion is mental illness and should be treated as such.
All priests are con-men and should be treated as such.
April 13, 2012 at 6:19 am
Extracted from The Simpsons…
Lisa: “The mound builders worshiped turtles as well as badgers, snakes, and other animals.”
Bart: “Thank god we’ve come to our senses and worship a carpenter who lived 2000 years ago.”
April 13, 2012 at 2:58 pm
He may be a good scientist. But he really needs some help in debating. He comes across as a person attacking Christianity rather than their falsehood. 🙁
April 13, 2012 at 6:45 pm
Welcome back to the era of the witch trials.
April 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm
And I was living under the illusion that Blasphemy Law was a monstrosity restricted to Islamic fundamentalist nation-states. My bad.
April 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm
And here I was, living under the illusion that a ‘blasphemy law’ was a monstrosity restricted to Islamic fundamentalist nation-states. My bad.
April 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm
a friend send me this message ‘ AFAIK, this collection of holy water from the feet of Jesus started in Irla village, more than a street away from the Our Lady of Velankani church. There’s a cross there (built illegally I think, although I’m not sure). Someone noticed that water was dripping from the feet of the cross. I don’t know what happened next, but before I knew it, masses were being held, a canopy erected around the cross, chairs were brought in for worshippers and the road – so narrow that even without blockades, only a single car can pass through – was almost closed off. This happened around Shivaji jayanti. On the other side, the same, narrow winding road, opens up into a chowk where there is a Shiv Sena office. There was a huge mandap there as well, lots of noise and fanfare, and the road blocked half way there too. It seemed that the worshippers at the cross weren’t only Christians, several Hindus came around to collect the ‘holy water’ as well.
As the roads were closed off, and the congregation too engrossed in prayer to make way, some of us were unable to take transport all the way. This makes things particularly difficult for the elderly.
Even if one didn’t allege superstition and false worship of a physical phenomenon, there’s a case for disruption of access to public spaces and roads. Hearing that a case of blasphemy has been filed against someone exposing this miracle makes me furious. I don’t personally object to religious practice, even in public places, so long as it doesn’t hinder normal public life or cause harm to others. But causing discomfort to others and threatening anyone who challenges your belief is unacceptable. “
April 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm
india scintists themselves beleives in super stition naturally sanal is scintific !! so he has to be arrested????