Monday, 11 June 2012

Sanal Edamaruku facing blasphemy charges for exposing Catholic 'miracle'

The Church of Our Lady of Velankanni in Vile Parle, Mumbai was witness to a curious event that many claimed was a modern-day miracle.

A statue of the crucifixion began to drip 'holy water' from its toes, and before long, thousands of pilgrims flocked to the church to collect the 'divinely sourced' water in vials for its undoubtedly restorative powers.

But then, back in March, Indian TV channel 9 invited Rationalist International president, Sanal Edamaruku, to investigate the phenomenon.

He immediately set about his task, and before long had isolated the true - more disturbing - nature of events.
Far from being the miracle the Catholics had claimed, Edamaruku discovered the source of the mysterious flow was caused by the capillary effect of an errant nail that had pierced the sewage outflow from the toilets.

Instead of being grateful for his help in exposing the prospect of a widespread health hazard, events have taken a turn for the strange.

Edamaruku accused the church of exploiting people for money, a tactic that did not go down well. Later, he participated in a heated debate with the pastor of the church, Father Augustine Palett, on national TV. Father Palett had little time for actual debate and instead spent his time threatening action, by way of a blasphemy complaint if Edamaruku refused to apologize.

Edamaruku welcomed this, as it would be a chance to present his evidence in court with the priests and bishops on the witness stand. Of course, no apology was forthcoming and Palett has since made good on his threat. [link]

On 11th of April, the Catholic Church brought blasphemy charges under Section 295 A, Indian Penal Code, have been filed against Sanal Edamaruku in at least three Mumbai police stations. Although Edamaruku did not receive any summons, he calls the inspector from Juhu police station, who urges him to come and get arrested. Recently, he calls every night. [link]

It should be noted that it is not the official Roman Catholic Church that is acting here, but The Vatican has been curiously quiet on the issue.

You can sign a petition to call on the Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay to encourage the withdrawal of complaints against Indian Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku here.

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