He’s Been Exiled from His Home for More Than a Year… for Challenging a Catholic ‘Miracle’

Sanal Edamaruku is nicknamed “the Indian James Randi” for a good reason: He debunks ridiculous claims with perfectly reasonable explanations.

More than a year ago, Edamaruku was charged with “hurting the religious sentiments of a particular community” after he explained how a statue of Christ could be dripping water seemingly on its own (spoiler: It involves science). The “crime” was punishable with up to three years in prison in addition to a fine.

So, since that time, Edamaruku has been on the run. Lhendup G. Bhutia at Open magazine has the unbelievable story of what he’s had to go through:

… Edamaruku went into hiding.

He spent the next month and a half living in student hostels and various friends’ homes. He stopped driving his car. While he was hiding in a post-graduate hostel, he would live in a room with the door latched from outside. When it became likely that he would soon be arrested, he flew to Helsinki in Finland.

Edamaruku has now spent over a year in Finland. “I have travelled to some of the most backward and rural areas of India to expose myths and superstitions. But I have never faced a situation like this. One would assume that people in Mumbai would be more sensible and tolerant,” he says on the phone from Helsinki. He says he wants to return to India but as the situation stands, he will get arrested without bail here.

All for pointing out the truth and unweaving the rainbow.

Edamaruku is a true hero. He’ll be speaking at The Amazing Meeting next week in Las Vegas. If you’re there, make sure you check him out and give him your support in any way possible.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • sk3ptik0n

    Is there really nothing the larger community can do? These are trumped up charges and it’s clearly persecution. If I recall, he was invited to check out the crying statue, wasn’t he? Either way, this has gone way too far and the people that are persecuting him need to be shamed in dropping the charges and give him an apology. Who can do something about his case? If I recall, we already tried the petition route (although, all petitions are not equal). What about celebrities? Is it possible that in the largest free thinking community there is no one with the kind of weight to at least bring some parties to the same table?

  • Dorothy

    hey, i’ll be there next week to hear him! FINALLY! i read this and other blogs daily and never have i ever been able to attend anything i read about, and now i am GOING TO TAM :D

  • busterggi

    Back in the ’90′s there was a dust-up about statues of Ganesh ‘drinking’ milk that was proven to have a scientific explaination and no one was prosecuted for that. Is it only Abrahamic religions that require criminal charges as punishment for demonstrating reality?

  • compl3x

    Awesome. Represent for those of us who can’t be there :) :-p
    This guy is the only one who is a victim here. These laws against “hurting religious sentiments/feelings” are an effing travesty. I hope one day he can return safely to his homeland.

  • revyloution

    Why do most skeptics sport the goatee?

    /looks at himself, ashamed.

  • mikespeir

    Does anybody really believe the Catholics wouldn’t bring back the rack and thumbscrews if they could get away with it?

  • C.L. Honeycutt
  • blind

    Indian politics is fucked up BIG TIME

  • Jono H

    Socrates died for his goatee

    /looks at himself, ashamed.

  • Jansen Waddell

    A goatee? Indeed you should be ashamed, sir

    /looks at himself, equally ashamed


    It sounds like the church pretty well proved the guy’s point.


    I think religious tolerance, generally, is a product of the inability of religious factions to force their beliefs on others, and not the product of intellectual growth.

  • mikespeir


  • Cafeeine

    Go thee away, goatee!
    /looks down, prepared to be ashamed, but realizes his goatee has blossomed into a full beard *phew*

  • Jim Jones

    Religion is spread by four basic methods:


    They will use as many as are allowed.