Mumbai: Rationalist Sanal Edamaruku has been forced to take shelter in Finland for the past six months amidst fears that he will be arrested upon his arrival back home for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of the Christian community.
According to a report carried by CNN-IBN on Tuesday, an FIR has been registered against Mumbai-based Edamaruku, who has been accused of blasphemy after he claimed the water that started dripping from a cross at a local church was not a ‘miracle’ but just a plumbing defect.
In March 2012, locals noticed water dripping from a cross at a Mumbai church and called it a miracle. When Edamaruku came to know about the incident, he checked the area and found that the miracle was just a plumbing defect and not due to a divine intervention.
Based on his investigation, he concluded that the source of the dripping water could be a sewage line running close to the cross. However, his scientific explanation did not go well with the Catholic Christian Secular Forum (CSF) and The Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF), which then registered a case against him under section 295(A) of the IPC- which is a non-bailable offence.
Despite landing in troubled waters, Edamaruku claims that freedom of speech is a Constitutional right of every Indian citizen and he will not apologise for something that he has scientific evidence for.
Meanwhile, MCYF president Agnelo Fernandes was quoted as saying, “He has made many allegations against the catholic community, the church, the bishop the Pope, catholic people that is why we have filed the FIR. We will withdraw the case only if he tenders an apology to the community otherwise we will strongly recommend his arrest."
In his defence, Edamaruku said, “The church is putting allegations on me, clergy manufactures miracles, Pope is anti-science and priests spread rumours."
However, the church, which has denied playing a role in the case, claims that it is hurt by Edamaruku`s allegations.
Legal experts call it a blatant abuse of the law. Legal experts argue that several sections of the law need to be amended or done away with as they can be misused to harass people like Sanal Edamaruku or the girls from Palghar caught in the Facebook controversy.
They further argue that till a new legislation comes, law enforcement agencies need to ensure that the law is used to protect its citizens and not violate their fundamental rights.