RATIONALIST INTERNATIONAL

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Catholic Church vs. Sanal Edamaruku

The noose is tightening at Mumbai

Sanal Edamaruku

It is more than three weeks now that agents of the Catholic Church pressed multiple blasphemy charges against Sanal Edamaruku as revenge against him for exposing their “miracle” of the water-dripping cross as a job for the plumber. While the threat of arrest keeps looming over Sanal’s head, ready to hit anytime, the Catholic Church is unleashing the “dogs of the Lord*). In a widely circulated public statement, a fanatic Catholic group tries to invoke fatwa power and calls Sanal a case for mental asylum.

*) “Dogs of the Lord” (Latin: Domini canes) was the name, the Dominicans loved to call themselves after the Vatican put them in charge of the Inquisiton in the 13th century. In a Papal Bull, a Pope with the endearing name “Innocent” ( No. IV) gave them officially a free hand to torture. This is a classical division of work.

On 11th of April, charges under Section 295 A, Indian Penal Code, have been filed against Sanal Edamaruku in at least three Mumbai police stations: in Juhu, in MIDC and in Andheri. Strangely, he did not receive any official document about these cases up to now. The Mumbai police refuse flatly to send copies of the complaints to Delhi – an unusual violation of the standard procedure. Sanal did not receive any summons either. Till today, there is nothing official about it - except the phone calls of an inspector from Juhu police station, who urges Sanal to come and get arrested. Recently, he calls every night.

What looks like a nightmare a la Franz Kafka, is a simple strategy: As long as the allegations against Sanal are not available in black and white, he will not be able to file a reply. Thus the stage is set for his arrest. In fact, that arrest – not any clarification – is on the police agenda, has already been spilled by the inspector from Juhu. Call it intimidation, attrition policy. This set-up aims at restricting Sanal’s movements and paralyzing his work.

Enormous worldwide response

Sanal’s harassment for exposing a Catholic wannabe miracle has caused an enormous worldwide response. It is reported and discussed in many newspapers, TV and radio programs in India and abroad. It keeps snowballing through thousands of blogs in various languages around the globe. People in USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Poland, Russia, Brazil, Japan and even Vietnam are expressing their solidarity with Sanal’s courageous position in the controversial TV discussion that followed his exposure of the dripping cross. In the light of this great public attention, Sanal’s detractors may have considered it advisable to slow down their moves for a while. But now, things are warming up.

The Catholic Church is orchestrating the background music for the countdown. It’s the rather nasty noise of the “dogs of the Lord” yapping themselves hoarse. With a great smear campaign, a fanatic Catholic group tries to stir up hatred against Sanal, branding his arguments in the TV-9 debate as “anti-Catholic venom”. They try to invoke fatwa power: Kindling the imagination how fanatic Islamists might deal with such a blasphemer, they leave the decision if Sanal “should be allowed to go scot free” to the mob. Finally they propose that “one needn’t send such a person to jail, but rather to a mental asylum...”

While his lawyers are preparing to defend his right to promote reason and scientific temper and to expose fraudulent claims of “miracles” of any – including Catholic – origin, Sanal Edamaruku has made it clear that as a law-abiding citizen he was ready to address the charges brought against him in front of any court of law or investigating officer – provided a proper summons was issued against him. However, he absolutely refused to comply with the bishop’s demand and apologize or withdraw any of his statements made in the TV-9 debate.

Instead he proposed that the authorities of the church of Velankanni at Mumbai should publicly apologize for distributing the dirty drainage water that was dripping from the cross to hundreds of gullible people. Advertising a natural phenomenon as a “miracle” to attract devotees and promoting them to drink unchecked dirty water claiming it had curative properties is an irresponsible act - and should be a punishable offence, too.

Unstoppable and in full swing:
Sanal’s new campaign against faith healers

Meantime Sanal Edamaruku is active in toppling the empires of Indian faith healers of different religious origin. He initiated a systematic campaign against one Nirmal Baba - once a failed business man from Uttar Pradesh, who acquired “divine powers” and a “third eye” and started a flourishing career as a godman. Nirmal invites devotees to buy expensive tickets for his huge mass assemblies, during which he would allegedly solve the problems of those who pay an exorbitant extra sum. He would give them some simple exercises (making small amendments to their diet plans or donating small amounts to strangers etc.) and claim that would cure their chronic diseases or instantly boost their broke business. A parade of fake witnesses – all being paid for their services - would “prove” the baba’s success. These stage-managed shows are filmed and run daily for hours as paid advertisements on some 40 TV channels.

Now, Sanal’s campaign against Nirmal Baba broke the spell. Suddenly TV channels that otherwise run his well paid ads zoomed in on the millionaire godman’s fraudulent activities and the legal cases that he is facing in several Indian states. During the last two weeks, Sanal debated in sixteen live programs on various TV channels against this charlatan. Nirmal’s daily collection that used to cross one crore Rupees (about US $ 180,000) has come down to a few thousand Rupees as a result of the campaign that Sanal lead.

Meantime Sanal is focusing public attention on Paul Dinakaran, one of the most successful Christian faith healers in India. Dinakaran claims to be in constant contact with Jesus Christ. Imitating his US counterparts, he organizes huge gatherings and offers blessings for a price. Good results in entrance exams, resolving of a business crisis, instant health solutions (including, of course: making the deaf hear and the lame walk) - everything has its tag. Thousands of people are lured with dramatic music and Paul’s hammy theatric displays of great feelings to come to his Prayer Tower in Chennai or join Christian faith healing festivals which draw crowds up to 500000 people in many cities of India.

When Sanal Edamaruku started exposing Paul Dinakaran on one of the big national Hindi channels, a live program scheduled for thirty minutes was extended to three hours as the viewership numbers hit record heights. The discussion was watched by millions, when Sanal draw the line to Dinakaran’s Vatican backed competitors in the Divine Retreat Centre at Muringoor in Kerala and to the Catholic Church’s unparalleled track record of miracle mongering throughout history. He also spoke about his exposure of the dripping cross at Mumbai and of the harassment that he is currently facing from the revengeful Catholic authorities and their henchmen. The campaign against Christian faith healers will continue in various TV channels. Sanal has already committed his participation in panel discussions in all major TV channels during the coming days.

Various Catholic organizations are stepping up efforts to stop Sanal’s hugely influential national campaigns against miracle mongering. They want to silence him and to bankrupt the Indian Rationalist Association with multiple cases.

We request you to support Sanal Edamaruku’s campaigns and to help defending him against all legal and extra legal attacks.

Links to some new articles that appeared about the Sanal Edamaruku Blasphemy Case: