'Blasphemer' at risk of jail in India brings his fight to Europe
Sanal Edamaruku faces court for revealing 'tears' trickling down a statue of Jesus came from clogged drainage pipes
Henry McDonald, 23 November 2012
When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velan Kanni began to imagine a future as a site of pilgrimage.
So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not a matter of holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.
Now he is calling for European governments to pressure New Delhi into dropping the case. And on the first leg of a tour around EU capitals on Friday, he warned that India was sacrificing freedom of expression for outdated, colonial-era rules about blasphemy.
"There is a huge contradiction in the content of the Indian constitution which guarantees freedom of speech and the blasphemy law from 1860 under then colonial rule," Edamaruku told an audience in Dublin. Click here to read more...