TRUTHS REGARDING FIRs LODGED AGAINST MR SANAL EDAMARUKU (IRA)
BY CATHOLIC GROUPS IN MUMBAI
Mumbai : 19th April, 2011 : The FIRs against Mr. Sanal are connected to the derogatory statements made by him on Tv9 on 5th March, 2012 & his refusal to apologise despite being unable to prove any of those claims true.
No Church authority had ever claimed the dripping water to be a miracle, hence there was no need for him to prove anything.
His claim that the FIRs are lodged because he proved the water dripping from the Cross “was not a miracle” are TOTALLY UNTRUE & with the aim of gaining public sympathy.
Attached is the note from Association Of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) & the official note by His Lordship Bishop Agnelo Gracias that were handed over to the Channel as well as to the media present on the evening of Sat 10th March when Mr. Sanal visited the Irla Cross .at the instance of AOCC
The points are as below:
1. Mr. Sanal did not fly in nor did he visit the Cross on his own accord to inspect the Cross. He was challenged by the Association Of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) on 6th March, 2012, to PROVE TRUE his defamatory comments made by him from Delhi on TV9 on 5th March with regards to the Church, the Pope, the Priest, Catholicism & the material of the Cross.
There was NEVER any Official statement from the Archdiocese or any Priest claiming the incident as a “Miracle”. No one can stop the locals from hoping it to be one. On the 5th of March as a viewer objecting to Mr. Sanal’s derogatory remarks, an AOCC member, Judith Monteiro had gone live on air (audio) & clearly said that “we are not claiming it to be a miracle nor did the local priest call it a miracle”. She questioned him as to why he was attacking the Pope & the Clergy as his remarks were irrelevant to the topic being discussed she demanded an apology from him for his derogatory remarks. She also asked the Channel to see that he apologise for his statements immediately. It is to be noted that Catholics await the Vatican’s statement on such incidents, so Mr. Sanal’s views are not of religious significance to us as we do not even know if he is qualified to make such claims by .visiting & looking around for just 15-30 minutes.
Mr. Arthur D’Mello, Vice President, AOCC spoke to the channel on 6th March & stated that:
Mr Sanal should come to Mumbai, visit the Cross at Irla & prove the authenticity of his statements regd the Cross, the church, the Pope & the Clergy (local & general) A panel discussion to follow with Mr Sanal, AOCC members & the Bishop / Representative assigned by Archbishop House, Mumbai c. Mr Sanal apologise for his derogatory remarks on the Pope & the Clergy and the church which he has made on National Television
The channel was in very clear terms informed that AOCC would pay for Mr Sanal’s tickets & that he should stop sitting in Delhi making false claims but come to Mumbai to
prove his claims of 5th March true. This telephonic conversation was followed by an email (8th march) Tv9 in an email reply to AOCC reiterated their verbal response that they have arranged for Mr Sanal to visit the Cross in Mumbai.
Mr Arthur further stated that if Mr Sanal did not agree to visit the Venue & prove his claims, it will mean that his claims are bogus and AOCC will be forced to make a police complaint against him for provoking communal disharmony by his comments which were personal attacks on the Church, The Cross, head of the Catholic Church & the Clergy thereby hurting the religious sentiments of the Community. The complaint would also be also forwarded to the respective authorities, i.e home minister, law & judiciary minister & others at both state & national level. The Press note from AOCC on 5th March, mentions the same. Hence, Mr Sanal came in on the challenge put forward to him by AOCC. (emails are there to prove it). (please refer to the 5th mar press release)
2. The official statement of His Lordship Bishop Agnelo clearly states “Coming to the ‘dripping Cross’ at Irla: One can doubt if this water dripping has a supernatural cause. The Church has NOT made any pronouncement on it”.
Bishop Agnelo’s statement also included the objectionable statements of Mr. Sanal & had asked for his apology “The least he could do would be to apologize to the Catholic community for hurting it, even though it might be inadvertently”.
The Church publicly asked for his apology in its statement (please refer to the bishops statement ) as well as on air during the 1& 1/2 hr episode on 10th March. Pls note the Parish Priest of Irla too was present at the site as also at the live discussion on air. (the whole of Maharashtra heard the Bishop live, while the world watched it on the channels website)
3. With regards to visiting the site & the Cross, he had to prove only the statements made by him on air on 5th march to be TRUE – which are: The local priests do tricks to collect money & build Churches / Pope is into exorcism / the Church is against science / adverse comments on Catholicism, the material of the Cross, etc, among others. This was the sole reason for his visit. Even the panel discussion which followed on TV was an opportunity for him to make a public apology as any decent human being who erred would do.
It is to be noted that:
· Mr Sanal’s derogatory statements on the Channel on 5th March were made from Delhi without even visiting the site.
· The Cross is not owned by the Church. It belongs to Mr Leander Dias family. The Church & the Cross are on 2 opposite & different sides of the road. Thus his claims that the local priest do these tricks are baseless as the Cross is NOT CHURCH OWNED.
· When the owner Mr Leander Dias volunteered to break the base below the Cross (in the presence of Mr Sanal & the channel’s reporter & camera crew) so he could do a thorough check he declined the offer for reasons best known to him
· Money Collection :None of the Print / Electronic Media including Tv9 present at the Venue on the 5th mentioned or showed any money collections being made at the site. Hence his claims from Delhi accusing the local Priests of collecting money at the venue to build churches is again TOTALLY FALSE. A defence committee supporting
Mr Sanal have on their website mentioned “if you wish to support us, support the defence fund with a donation” – a statement which appears to speak for itself on collection of funds.
· Priests present during his visit to Irla :When TV9 agreed to bring Mr Sanal to Mumbai to prove his statements of 5th March & also agreed to the panel discussion to give him an opportunity on a public platform to prove his statements or to apologise, AOCC had submitted the names of the people on the panel & had mentioned to the channel that the locals, AOCC, members of other groups & the priest would be present at the venue when Mr Sanal visits the place. Hence his claims that priest were present is irrelevant as the channel was already informed in advance.
· Regarding prayers at the Cross: Anyone believing in God esp those living in Mumbai / India are aware & also partake in prayers recited by locals at religious structures. Being the season of Lent, during the 40 days period Catholics recall the Passion of Christ by holding “Stations of the Cross” at Church levels & at the local community levels i.e at the crosses in the areas. These local prayers are generally held on Sundays so that it is convenient to attend. As 10th march was a Sunday, since the Channel & Mr Sanal visit was scheduled for 5pm, not knowing the length of time of the visit, the prayers were conducted by the locals & completed before the visit lest it be delayed. Hence, Mr Sanal’s claims that “special prayers” were conducted at the Cross are UNTRUE as the prayers were the regular Lenten programme that was on.
· None of those gathered around nor the TV Channel crew received any picture titled “miracle’. It is therefore strange that only Mr Sanal received the picture. Even stranger is the fact that the picture contained no details overleaf, be it date, or location which is normally printed on such pictures. Infact the panel on the 10th refuted his claim n air even questioning whether he brought the picture with him from Delhi as he was the only one who had it.
4. Mr Sanal’s statement on the reason for the water dripping : Infact, when the owner volunteered to break the base below the Cross (in the presence of Mr Sanal & the channel’s reporter & camera crew) so he could do a thorough check he declined the offer for reasons best known to him, hence his claims & his expertise to do so are questionable.
It is surprising that he inspected the Cross for scientific reasons defeating the purpose of his visit while he chose not to prove his derogatory statements of the 5th regd the Cross, which were “a hole in the head must have been made & that’s how the water is dripping”, ‘his sources informed him that the Cross is made of plaster of paris”. The owner of the Cross offered him a ladder to check for the hole in the head, but he declined this too & the Cross was not of Plaster of Paris. Hence his statements have again been proven untrue.
5. The Associations that have demanded Mr Sanal’s apology & also filed the FIRs are neither funded by the Church nor use Church premises nor do they take help financial or otherwise from the Church for their activities. Hence any claims that he is being targeted or attacked by the Church are totally UNTRUE
6. The panelists (lawyers, professionals) on the 10th kept reminding him & also produced the emails of 8th March which proved that his visit to Irla, Mumbai & the subsequent discussion was ONLY & SOLELY to give him a chance to prove his derogatory statements of 5th march or else to apologise for the same or face FIRs. They even reminded him that the programme was not to prove the reasons for the dripping water. They even made the channel witness on air to the emails between the panelists & the channel. Hence, any claims whatsoever that the Panelists threatened or warned Mr Sanal of filing FIRs is UNTRUE since he was already aware that the programme was ONLY FOR HIM TO APOLOGISE OR FACE LEGAL ACTION.
We are not concerned with his comments about what happens in India or elsewhere as the whole purpose of Mr Sanal’s visit was the CHALLENGE put to him based on his statements on air on the 5th as the programme was “whether the Irla incident can be called a miracle or not”, but Mr Sanal spoke out of context & used it as a platform to make derogatory remarks against the Christian Religion.
Mr Sanal is now twisting facts to save himself from imminent prosecution. Despite being categorically told since 5th March that no Church official is claiming it to be a miracle, yet even today he is distorting facts to suit his convenience & to save himself.
In true Christian Spirit Mr Sanal was given a chance to apologise for the comments he made on 5th march, instead he further insulted the Catholics by insulting one of the Religious Head in India, His Lordship Bishop Agnelo Gracias of Mumbai on air on 10th march by telling the Bishop to apologise to him when the Bishop had done nothing.
WHY THE FIR’s WERE LODGED
Since he refused to apologise despite his being unable to prove his derogatory statements of 5th March to be true, which was the reason he was brought to Mumbai by the Channel (on AOCC demand for his apology telephonically on 6th & email on 8th) the 1st FIR was filed at MIDC police station on 10th mar, by Mr Joseph Dias of Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) based on Mr Sanal’s derogatory comments on 5th March
The 2nd FIR was subsequently filed at Juhu police station by Mr Agnelo Fernandes, Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum based on the comments made by Mr Sanal on Tv9 both on 5th & 10th March,
The FIR’s came to be lodged u/s 295 A of the Indian Penal Code against him for having maliciously insulted the religious sentiments of the Catholics. The said offence is cognizable and non bailable and punishable with imprisonment for upto 3 years.
Association Of Concerned Catholics
Catholic Secular Forum
Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum
Irla Village Residents
For further clarification / queries contact: Judith Monteiro – xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
STATEMENT WITH REGARD TO THE IRLA CROSS – in the light of the TV Programme on the ‘Dripping Cross’
A general Observation: The official Church is slow to attribute supernatural causes to ‘extra-ordinary’ phenomena we observe in life. As far as possible, the Church tries to see if such phenomena can be explained by natural causes. Further, the Church does not pay too much attention to these extraordinary phenomena, even though she accepts the possibility that God may intervene in human life in an extraordinary way – what we often term a ‘miraculous’ way.
Coming to the ‘dripping Cross’ at Irla: One can doubt if this water dripping has a supernatural cause. The Church has NOT made any pronouncement on it. There is a lengthy scientific process that has to be undergone before any official pronouncement is made. It is quite possible that the dripping water may have a natural explanation.
What is surely objectionable are the statements made by the Delhi interlocutor, Mr. Sanal. We point out some of these erroneous assertions:
* Contrary to the interlocutor’s claim, the Church does not advocate the worship of images. There is a difference between honouring a thing and making it divine, something to be worshipped. We respect and honour the Scriptures of any religion not because the books are in themselves divine, but because they have a special significance for the adherents of that religion. We honour a cross because it is for us a reminder of the love of Jesus who died for us
* A second gratuitous assertion is that the dripping Cross has been created by priests who are out to make money! This Cross is not on Church property and the one who is alleged to have noticed the dripping water was not even a Catholic. To the best of our knowledge, no money has been collected by any priest. And surely, priests do not build churches with such money, as is claimed by the interlocutor.
* A third unwarranted statement is that the Pope or the Church is against Science. The interlocutor would only have to go to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on the internet, to see the list of eminent Catholic scientists and how the Church has supported scientific research since the emergence of the European universities in the Middle Ages. There is a Pontifical Academy of Sciences, founded in 1603, which seeks to pay honour to pure science, wherever it is found, to assure its freedom and to promote its research.
I realize that the interlocutor has made these and other unwarranted statements out of ignorance – he is unaware of facts. The least he could do would be to apologize to the Catholic community for hurting it, even though it might be inadvertently.
+ Bishop Agnelo Gracias
Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay
AOCC demands an apology from Mr. Sanal Edamaruku
Mumbai Archdiocese objects to his statements on national television
Mumbai : (10th March, 2012) : Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) demanded an apology from Mr. Sanal Edamaruku for the derogatory comments made by him on His Holiness the Pope & on the Priests of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church in general. He has also made accusations & false claims regarding the Cross at Irla, Mumbai from which water had been dripping for 2 days. The Mumbai Archdiocese also took objection to the statements made by Mr Sanal.
On 5th March Tv9 Maharashtra aired the news about a Cross at Irla, Mumbai. A gujarati lady of the locality noticed that the Cross was dripping water following which the locals comprising all faiths, creed, culture & age gathered around it believing it to be a miracle.
At 9pm Tv9, aired a1 hr panel discussion episode titled “Ye Kaisi Aastha” where Mr Sanal gave his opinion which included derogatory comments on His Holiness the Pope & on the Priests of the Catholic Church and the Catholic Church in general. He has also made accusations & false claims regarding the said Cross and the reason for the dripping of the water.
On 5th March, itself, an AOCC member, Ms Judith Monteiro, had gone live during the programme objecting to & demanding an apology from Mr Sanal with regards to his comments on the Pope & Clergy and the church, but sad to say he did not apologise.
Ever since AOCC has been in touch with TV9 office (march as Mr Sanal’s views hurt the religious sentiments of the Catholic Community. His comments could also have caused a riot as his comments have hurt the religious feelings of the catholic community.
The Mumbai Archdiocese also took objection to the statements made by Mr Sanal. Please refer to the Release from the Archdiocese attached herewith
Mr Arthur D’Mello, Vice President, AOCC spoke to the channel on behalf of AOCC & stated the foll : 1.Mr Sanal should come to Mumbai, visit the Cross at Irla & prove the authenticity of his statements regd the Cross, the church, the Pope & the Clergy (local & general) 2. A panel discussion to follow with Mr Sanal, AOCC members & the Bishop / Representative assigned by Archbishop House, Mumbai 3. Mr Sanal apologise for his derogatory remarks on the Pope & the Clergy and the church which he has made on National Television
Mr Arthur in very clear terms told the channel that AOCC would pay for Mr Sanal’s tickets & that he should stop sitting in delhi making false claims but come to Mumbai to prove his claims of 5th March true. This telephonic conversation was followed by an email (8th march) Tv9 in an email reply to AOCC reiterated their verbal response that they have arranged for Mr Sanal to visit the Cross in Mumbai.
Mr Arthur further stated that if Mr Sanal did not agree to visit the Venue & prove his claims, it will mean that his claims are bogus and AOCC will be forced to make a police complaint against him for provoking communal disharmony by his comments which were personal attacks on the Church, The Cross, head of the Catholic Church & the Clergy thereby hurting the religious sentiments of the Community. The complaint would also be also forwarded to the respective authorities, i.e home minister, law & judiciary minister & others at both state & national level
For Further information contact : Judith Monteiro