Monday, July 23, 2012

The Sunday Indian article on Sanal Edamaruky

The deep end of unreason

A Delhi rationalist is on the run from the law after debunking a purported miracle in a Mumbai church

KS NARAYANAN | Issue Dated: July 22, 2012, New Delhi

Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, who is facing arrest for hurting the religious sentiments of Catholics after he debunked a miracle at the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni in Vile Parle, continued to travel and was in touch with well-wishers even as Delhi police visited  his home in the national capital last week to execute a Mumbai police arrest warrant. A lock on the door greeted the police team the last time it came calling.

Mumbai Police issued a warrant against Edamaruku last month on an FIR filed by Angelo Fernandez complaining that he had hurt the sentiments of Catholics. Edamaruku was booked under the 295(A) of the IPC, which deals with deliberate and malacious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

Two other FIRs have been registered against Edmaruku at the Juhu police station and the MIDC station after he allegedly accused the Pope of exorcism and charged that Catholics were treading the path of superstition because of people like him. Edamaruku was alleged to have made the comments on March 5 during a programme, ‘Yeh kaisi astha?’ (What kind of faith is this?), on the TV9 channel.

Delhi Police, which had the responsibility to execute the warrant, seems clueless about Edamaruku. When contacted by TSI, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East Delhi) Prabhakar was evasive. "We have no information in this case," he replied.

Interestingly Edamaruku's residence in Mayur Vihar Phase I is in East Delhi. Despite this the senior police official was puzzled why the query was being directed at him. When this reporter persisted, Prabhakar said he could not set any time-frame to answer queries regarding the whereabouts of Edamaruku.

Asked to give his perspective on the issue, veteran journalist, National Integration Council member and All India Christian Council secretary general, John Dayal told TSI, "The police case against Sanal Edamaruku should be withdrawn as a sign that a mature Church in India needs no props for the depth of its faith in God. (see column)

Meanwhile, the global scientific community is outraged at the harassment being faced by the Indian rationalist. Richard Dawkins, British ethnologist and evolutionary biologist observed: "He exposed a fraudulent miracle. Since when has the unmasking of a fraud been 'offensive'?" US scientist Paul Zachary Myers noted: "Harassing Sanal Edamaruku for exposing the truth is an outrage against reason and justice".

Answering mails and telephone calls from an undiclosed location, Edamaruku is hopeful of the case ending in his favour. "My lawyers are working on several levels at the same time. Yes, I very much expect this to end in my favour. It is just a question of time (and unfortunately of money also...)," the rationalist asserted.

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