Two nuns and as many female postulants on Friday were harassed and forced to de-board a train in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, allegedly by members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student’s wing of RSS, who accused them of proselytization.
According to NDTV, the nuns and their two novices were let off only after they convinced railway police that they were not involved in any conversion.
Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday assured to take action against those involved in the incident, in response to a letter by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
According to NDTV, the nuns were intercepted by a group of ABVP members when they were aboard the Haridwar-Puri Utkal Express on March 19.
A video of the incident shows the women surrounded by a few men including policemen. The men ask the nuns to get their luggage while other videos show the women on the platform of the Jhansi Railway Station and then inside its railway police station.
Speaking about the incident, Naeem Khan Mansuri, the Superintendent of Railway Police in a statement has said that the two nuns and their novices were bound for Rourkela in Odisha, while the ABVP members who were returning from a training camp in Rishikesh in the same train, were going to get down at Jhansi.
“Two of them were nuns and two were under training. These members of the AVBP suspected that these two nuns were taking the other two women for conversion because the nuns were speaking to the other ladies. On this suspicion, they informed the Railway Protection Force who in turn informed the railway police. These ABVP members also gave a written complaint about conversion. I reached the spot and made inquiries. These inquiries revealed that the two other women were from Odisha’s Rourkela and were under training. We checked their certificates and both had 2003 baptism certificates and this proved both women by birth were Christian and that no conversion was involved. After this we sent all four women onwards to their destination in Odisha,” the statement said.
The incident sparked public resentment when the related videos went viral. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Shah demanding strict action against the offenders.
“Such incidents tarnish the image of the nation, and its ancient tradition of religious tolerance. Such incidents require utmost condemnation by the Union government. I would request your kind intervention to instruct authorities to take strict action on all groups, individuals who disrupt, impair the freedom of individual rights guaranteed by the constitution,” Vijayan wrote.
“Those involved in the Jhansi nuns’ harassment incident will be brought before the law,” Shah said on Wednesday.