Sanal Edamaruku says, “NO.”

Sanal Edamaruku
Sanal Edamaruku: lecture in Kattowice, Poland

“I can understand that they might be inspired by the stories of Inquisition and Witch Hunting in the middle ages. We live in 21st century. There are courageous people who would defend the right to speak what they are convinced about, even if stakes are invoked against them. I am one amongst them. I would not apologize nor succumb to any pressures.”

Sanal Edamaruku

Sanal Edamaruku is on a pre-planned lecture tour across Europe. When the police came on 4thJuly to his house in Delhi to arrest him, they had to return empty handed. But things did not end there. These days, they are making their presence felt with frequent appearances at Sanal’s home. They bother neighbours and friends with queries and keep observing without ostentation. What is hatching up?

Meantime a prominent Indian Catholic has made an appeal to the Catholic Church leadership to withdraw the case against Sanal Edamaruku. So far, the answer is deep silence on the side of the bishops – and a shrill demand for Sanal’s apology for debunking the “miracle” on the side of their fanatic henchmen. Two sides of a coin. While Catholic circles are abuzz with speculation, reason could still prevail - if there is enough public pressure that is!

John Dayal is a respected figure in the Indian Catholic community. He is a member of the National Integration Council of India, the Secretary-General of the All India Christian Council. and a past president of the All India Catholic Union. He has been Sanal’s opponent in several TV debates and is quite critical of his rationalism. His appeal to the Catholic Church leadership to end the “obnoxious controversy” by withdrawing the case against Sanal is carrying weight. Definitively written from a Catholic perspective, but dictated by a sense of fairness and balance, it is intended to show the Church a somewhat dignified way out. Will they use the golden bridge?

In his column in the Sunday Indian Magazine, John Dayal writes:

“As someone who is in touch both with the Mumbai church and Sanal Edmaruku, I am pleading the return of a sense of proportion in this issue.....

I believe Christ is absolutely capable of defending Himself, if perhaps not the church in India. These statements by Sanal or the probe by his Rationalists must not be taken as an attack on the church or on the community….

The faithful of Mumbai think they are defending faith when they go on hunger strikes against books of fiction or films from Hollywood and Bollywood. But in reality they are defending their own positions and constituencies and do not want them to be exposed to the sunlight.

Christ does not have to drip water from crucifixes to prove the love he has for each one of us. His healing is deeper and needs no instruments. I have experienced this in my own life. Catholics of Mumbai possibly realise the controversy is not getting the Church any new friends, nor is it adding to its lustre.

It is time the church leadership really forgave Sanal.....

The police case against Sanal Edamaruku should be withdrawn as a sign that a mature Church in India needs no props for the depth of its faith in God.”

John Dayal’s initiative has been widely quoted in church circles. Remarkably, he appeals to the Church leadership – not to fringe laity organisations -  to “forgive” Sanal and withdraw the case against him. So far, however, the Catholic Church leaders did not honour his proposal with an answer. The Bishop of Mumbai – who happens to be the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India – is maintaining his silence.

Joseph Dias of the Mumbai based Christian “Secular” Forum, who launched one of the police complaints, has refused to consider withdrawal unless Sanal apologizes. In a Catholic blog he is even quotes as stating: “We first asked him to apologise to us. Now the time for apology has long gone. He must be arrested.”

Meantime the Human Rights appeal launched by the Rationalist Association (UK) has crossed the ten thousand mark of signatories, among them famous names such as Richard Dawkins, PZ Meyers, John Opie, Noel Doye, George Daole-Wellman and many others. It is intended to pass the petition to Catholic Church authorities in Europe and to the Vatican. Meantime, the more signatures it gets, the better.

Please help us keeping up the pressure: sign the Human Rights petition and invite more signatories.