An Interview with Sanal Edamaruku

February 20, 2013

From The Humanist:

The Humanist: You’ve been charged for blasphemy under Section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code, which makes it illegal to “outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.” Can you talk about the origins of this law?

Edamaruku: Indian blasphemy laws are relics of colonial legislation and have a long history of abuse. In the decades since independence, they’ve been regularly used to hound and silence intellectuals and artists who question religious beliefs. What’s dangerous is that anybody can easily launch a complaint against whomever he wants for violating his religious feelings. And on the basis of such a complaint, the police can arrest and hold the suspect until he’s acquitted by a court of law, which can take years. So the real danger isn’t so much the verdict as the pre-trial “punishment.”

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