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Sanal Edamaruku, president of IRA Was invited to examine a certain crucifix in Irla (Vile Parle - West) by TV-9. The reason was Jesus was dripping water from its feet. Ever ready to believe the paranormal, worshipers had started flocking to collect that "Holy" water and the usual three ring circus ensued, I believe, with priests promoting the miracle with photos of the miracle, etc.

Sanal, as the president of IRA has a formiddable reputation for debunking such superstitious beliefs (duh, rationalist). So in inviting him, there is a certain understanding that the natural reason for the occurrence will be found out. That happened.

Here is a video of the investigation from TV-9

The water was found to be drawn from a nearby drainage through capillary action. He explained the process and later participated in a television debate with five church officials. Here's the debate:

So, to make a long story short, the church authorities tried to bully him into apologizing, then they threatened him with a court case for blasphemy. Right there in front of *cough* God and everyone. They threatened to file lots of court cases against him. And they did.

Post this, things are more unclear. Sanal hasn't been arrested yet. There are cases filed against him in several police stations, any of whom could take initiative in arresting him. Considering the orthodox and generally blind faith friendly mob mentality of our country, no one knows how quickly this will end or how far it will go. Hie safety from extra-curricular extra-devout Christians is also unknown. But so far, he is free.

There is a defense fund set up for him, and if you appreciate his de-stupidification efforts for the country, and you would like to contribute, it is a very good time to do it, since considerable time and money being spent to the point of paralysis is why so many cases get filed against a person. Unless someone in the religious thugs comes to their senses, they are almost certain to be trying to make his life miserable.

That said, I want to point out a few things and raise a few questions:

  1. If the Church authorities did not want their precious miracle debunked, why not stop him from investigating? If they were on the side of honesty, why print and promote a miracle that wasn't?
  2. What kind of trouble TV-9 are facing or supporting him through? Considering that they did this together? Or is this to be the typical drive by needling of religion, leaving their guests to suffer the harassment of criminal leaders? Note: He was demanded an apology for doing nothing more than finding the cause of the drip. And threatened with cases when he refused to apologize. On TV.
  3. What action has been taken by the police against the Church for both the threats as well as the fraud?
  4. From having a fairly strong resistance to superstition in the Maharashtra region, how have we reached this point that a person can be publicly threatened and bullied for debunking superstition? What is this intellectual cost we as a people have paid?
  5. Will the people who visited the church to witness this fraudulent miracle file complaints against say.... Section 415 of the IPC - which deals with cheating or misrepresentation?
  6. Will people who drank the "Holy" water be entitled to compensation and reimbursement of any health consequences?

It is common in India for the one with the capacity to bully be immune from harm. In every aspect of life. Will we allow this rubbish to continue?

I suggest staying tuned to this space and supporting in any initiatives that may further be needed if the Church continues with their harassment.

Read lots of columns and watched so many debates on TV set but none of them addresses my one question, on recent attack by congress’s government in New Delhi at midnight, happens to be on chaotic Indian democracy that what provoked government to attack Indian democracy?. Some are saying government felt Baba will attract more and more people that could lead to law and order problem in Delhi. Some says government want to send a signal that if it can reach out, it can reign in also. Further some said Baba was misusing the Ram Leela Maidan as he does not have permission for fasting. None of above arguments convinces me.

In my view it was the minority politics in the shadow of secularism. See the events how they unfolded. In the first place, government sends four ministers to appease Baba Ramdev, it seems a clear attempt to divide the Anna and Ramdev. Suddenly, government and Congress realized that they have gone very far and that annoyed the minority constituency. As usual, congress’s minority vote bank manger comes in action and given the statement that “Sonia Gandhi was not in loop”. Objective was very clear that first family has no intentions to appease Hindu Baba.

Further, government feared that Baba’s fast may lead to revival of BJP’s hindutva agenda and they tried to stop Baba’s fast. But Baba remains adamant, and gone ahead with fast. On the top of this RSS and BJP has render their open support to Baba and Sadhvi Rithambra had shared the stage with Baba Ramdev. Further talks with Baba Ramdev may have shown congress a party which is appeasing Hindu Baba and controversially he is someone who have support of RSS. And it led to congress to take strong action against Baba Ramdev and attempts to send a clear message to minority community do not go anywhere that we will continue to appease you.

It was a clear political action and I suspect it would have happened even if RSS had not been supported Baba Ramdev or Sadhvi-Ritambara had not share the stage with Baba. Because it seems to me that, in the eyes of congress, anyone who wears the saffron colour cloths is communal and supporting such a person, may lead to threat to minority vote bank of congress. Unfortunately, media too have created this perception.

Is this secularism or communalism in the shadow of secularism? If it would have been any Muslim religious leader, not Baba Ramdev, then real question is, would congress have taken same action? Recently, secular government has taken a week to arrest Abdul Naseer Madni accused of terrorism, leader of PDP in Kerla. Why are these double standards of so-called secular forces?

I am not here to paint anybody secular or non-secular, but congress’s secular agenda is simply not adding up and seems to me communal and divisive agenda, while congress accused opposition for same.

Even media has not raised these questions. While some section of media seems to be in the line of congress. I fear as long as this game of appeasing minority goes on for vote bank, it keep provoking the opposition to be communal or divisive, it does not mean I am justifying opposition. But my question remains that are media asking real question? Or is onus upon reader or viewer to read in between lines whatever media reports?