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Friday, 13 April 2012

"Well known rationalist under threat of arrest for exposing the "miracle" !"



   'FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION UNDER ATTACK'
Sanal Edamaruku, well known rationalist,  under    threat  of arrest
for exposing the  "miracle"

Dear friends,
On 10th March, Sanal Edamaruku, President of the Rationalist
International,   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.  Sanal
Edamaruku 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,
appeared to be  displeased.  See the
 investigation in detail on
YouTube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUqhq9MuRG8Some hours later, in
a live program on TV-9, Sanal explained his findings and accused the
concerned  Catholic Church officials  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 Sanal refused  and argued
against them. [The whole TV program is recorded. You can watch an
abridged version of it on
YouTube.]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfJ6_ftih0sWhen they saw
Sanal  refused to bow to their demands, they  threatened to file a
blasphemy case against him. And they did.Yesterday (10th April,2012)
Sanal received a
 phone call from a Police official  of Juhu Police Station in Mumbai
directing him to come to the said police station to face the charges
and get arrested. He also said that FIRs have also been filed in
Andheri  and some other police stations u/s 295 of Indian Penal Code
on the allegations of hurting the religious sentiments of a particular
community.  Mumbai police  has announced that they were out to arrest
him.   It is apprehended  that  he  can be arrested any moment.
The filing of FIRs by Mumbai police and threatening to arrest a well
known rationalist who has been exposing miracles and superstitious
beliefs  for more than  three decades is a serious attack on the
freedom of expression. Clause (h) of Article 51-A of  Constitution of
India states that :'It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to
develop the scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and
reform.'In exposing the said miracle, Sanal was performing
 his fundamental duty enshrined in our constitution.It is distressing
that the Mumbai police has chosen to harass and victimize him for
doing his fundamental  duty.      'Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committee'
appeals to all progressive individuals and  organizations  to protest
and oppose the reprehensible steps of the Maharashtra police in filing
FIRs against Sanal and stand behind him in solidarity for the cause of
 scientific thinking and freedom of expression.
                              N.D.Pancholi     11 April, 2012
                 Convenor,                                     Sanal Edamaruku
Defence CommitteePS. Please have a look at
"www.rationalistinternational.net."