13th Jun 2012 9:30am | By Laura Chubb
Sanal Edamaruku, president of the India-based Rationalist International, is facing jail for pointing out that a miracle involving a dripping crucifix was down to a leaky pipe.
On March 10, the well-known 'miracle debunker' was invited by the TV-9 channel to see for himself a miracle at the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni in Vile Parle. Water had begun dripping from the feet of a statue of a crucified Christ, leading worshippers to claim it was holy water. The devout flocked to the church to collect the sacred dripping liquid in containers.
After inspecting the scene, Edamaruku concluded that the source of the miracle was a leaky drainage system.
Father Augustine Palett, pastor of the Church of Our Lady Velankanni, denounced Edamaruku's investigation which suggested the church had created the miracle to exploit worshippers.
Palett said: "Something has happened here that is beyond our understanding and that has gathered together Hindus, Muslims and Christians, united in prayer.
"The Church does not try to make money from people's devotion. Its institutions relentlessly serve poor and marginalised, without any discrimination of caste or creed, to build this nation.
"Sanal Edamaruku's statements are unwarranted, unfounded and false
The church has now filed blasphemy petitions against Edamaruku.
Rationalist International confirmed that the Mumbai police had announced they are out to arrest Edamaruku, and that "he could be forced to fight a multitude of criminal cases in different places".
The organisation added: "This is not only immensely time and money consuming. Given the fanaticism of some Catholic believers, it can be a danger for his life."
Rationalist International has responded by launching a Sanal Edamaruku Defence Committe spearheaded by the human rights lawyer N.D.Pancholi.