Sanal Edamaraku leader of the Indian Rationalist Organisation set out to investigate a weeping statue in Mumbai at the Our Lady of Velankanni Church and caused a storm when he released his findings in March.
Edmaraku claims that the “holy” water comes from a nearby toilet and could be infected with bacteria and he also accused clergy of using the situation to make money from visiting pilgrims. For these claims Edamaraku faces charges that could land him in prison for up to three years under the nation’s 152-year-old blasphemy law.
Joseph Dias, from the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum, a national activist community group, has labeled his statements on the statue “intolerable.” he further commented:
“His remarks were blatantly false, the abnormal phenomenon was captured live on TV and the media for two days and no plausible explanation could be found as to why the crucifix was dripping with water. This was blasphemy, lies and defamation.”
Edmaraku lawyers intend to contest the charges stating that the law has been misused while simultaneously launching a Supreme Court challenge to abolish the ancient law altogether. To ensure it cannot be misused against anyone else.