A statue of Jesus Christ seeping water is creating a stir in Mumbai, India.
When news spread last week about the alleged miracle, large crowds began gathering in the village where the statue is located, prompting the police to rush to the area to ensure that no stampede-like situation would develop, the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) reported.
The Jesus statue is located near the Infant Jesus Chapel, which is under the supervision of St. Anthony's Parish in Kharodi village. Locals have been coming to the place, forming long queues, to collect what they believe to be "holy water."
Online pictures and videos of the statue have gone viral, drawing more devotees to the site.
George Mendonca, a village resident, told DNA, "I believe that it is a way that Jesus Christ is trying to make his presence felt to the devotees. We believe that it's a miracle and it depends on the perspective of the individuals. We are receiving pictures and messages from every nook and corner, and larger crowds are expected in the next two days."
When sought for comment, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Bombay said they still have to check the report. "We have not confirmed or sought details of the incident, but have received the pictures from the priests regarding the same," said Fr. Nigel Berret, spokesperson for the archdiocese.
A similar incident was reported in 2012, also in Mumbai, The Guardian reported. Water also started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni in the Indian city of about 20.7 million people.
Locals quickly declared the incident a miracle and began collecting the alleged holy water.
However, Sanal Edamaruku, a renowned rationalist, later revealed that upon inspection he found out that the water dripping from the feet of the Jesus statue was due to clogged drainage pipes behind the wall where the statue stood, according to The Guardian.
Edamaruku warned believers not to drink the water, which they believed could cure ailments. "This was sewage water seeping through a wall due to faulty plumbing," he said. "It posed a health risk to people who were fooled into believing it was a miracle."
His disclosure was met with death threats from religious zealots. He was then charged with blasphemy in the Mumbai high court, an offence that carries a three-year prison sentence.
The death threats eventually forced him to seek exile in Finland.