Sanal Edamaruku, a prominent rationalist campaigner for scientific education in India, faces blasphemy charges and a possible prison sentence following unfounded complaints made against him by various Catholic organisations in March 2012.
The charges stem from Mr. Edamaruku's debunking of a supposed miracle at a Catholic Church in Mumbai - a statue thought to be 'leaking holy water' was revealed, by Mr. Edamruku, to be leaking water from a faulty drainage system.
Having been denied "anticipatory bail", he faces immediate imprisonment if he is arrested, and a possible three-year sentence if convicted. In the 12 months since the complaints were filed, the Catholic authorities in India have rejected all calls to use their influence to have the case dropped, and Mr. Edamaruku remains at serious risk of arrest and imprisonment.
We call upon the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, Mr. Prithviraj Chavan, to protect freedom of speech in India and do all they can to intercede to ensure these spurious charges against Mr. Edamaruku are dropped. It is vital that he is allowed to contuinue his important public work without further harassment and danger to his freedom and security.
Further details about Mr. Edamaruku's case can be found on the Rationalist Association's website.