Immediate Release-Rationalist under threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle” #FOE


‘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
YouTube.]

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.”

22 comments on “Immediate Release-Rationalist under threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle” #FOE

  1. Pingback: Rationalist under threat of arrest for exposing the “miracle” #FOE » Bydio

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.”

  5. 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. :(

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  7. And I was living under the illusion that Blasphemy Law was a monstrosity restricted to Islamic fundamentalist nation-states. My bad.

  8. And here I was, living under the illusion that a ‘blasphemy law’ was a monstrosity restricted to Islamic fundamentalist nation-states. My bad.

  9. 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. “

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