Sanal Edamaruku under attack for exposing Catholic "miracle"
As he exposed the “miracle” of the drippling Jesus in Mumbai, revengeful Catholic Church leaders vow to harass Sanal Edamaruku with an array of blasphemy cases. The harassment has started.
“It is nothing new that the Catholic bishops try to sentence their opponents to the stake when they run out of arguments. Giordano Bruno’s is a case in point. But try as they may, they cannot stop me to stand for reason, science and historic facts. And I am not alone. Freedom of expression is under attack and we are going to defend it!”
Exposing the “miracle”
On 10th March, Sanal Edamaruku 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. Irla was about to become a pilgrimage centre.
But Sanal Edamaruku spoilt this prospect. Within minutes, he clearly 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, were far from pleased. See the investigation in detail on YouTube.
TV debate with the Bishop
Some hours later, in a live program on TV-9, Sanal explained his findings and accused the Catholic Church 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 he powerfully argued against them. Via telephone, Msgr. Agnelo Gracias, auxiliary bishop of Mumbai, intervened in order to rescue the image of the Catholic Church. He claimed the Church was “always cautious in attributing supernatural causes” to such phenomena and always striving “to find 'scientific' explanations.” He even assured the Pope was a friend of science. Sanal countered elegantly, referring to the case of Giordano Bruno. He also discussed the Vatican’s official process of canonization in which “miracles”, certified by a Vatican commission, are obligatory for every saint. Since there are more than 10,000 Catholic saints, the Vatican surely qualifies for “miracle mongering”. And the allegedly so science-loving Pope allows exorcism in the Vatican itself. According to recent press reports, he even personally lent a hand to cast out the devil from the body of a Swiss Guard man. In this highly interesting debate, Sanal triumphed over his shouting opponents. [The whole TV program is recorded. You can watch an abridged version of it on YouTube.]
Threat live on TV
When they saw their hopes dashed to force Sanal to his knees and apologize, they publicly threatened to file a blasphemy case against him. Sanal pointed out that this would give him an excellent opportunity to support all his statements with evidence in a court of law, with the bishop of Mumbai in the witness box. Foaming with rage, the church people vowed to harass him by filing an array of cases against him in all Mumbai police stations. They did.
Sanal can be arrested any moment
We know of three petitions on the base of Article 295, Indian Penal Code that have been filed against Sanal.
Meantime, Mumbai police announced that they were out to arrest him.
Sanal can be arrested any moment. In every single place where a petition is filed against him. He could be forced to appear in person to answer them. If his answer is not found satisfactory, he could be arrested. He could be forced to fight a multitude of criminal cases in different places. This is not only immensely time and money consuming. Given the fanaticism of some Catholic believers, it can be a danger for his life.
Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee
Rationalist International has formed a Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committe. The convener is the well known Human Rights Lawyer and activist Mr. N.D.Pancholi.