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Home / India / Nuns forced off train on suspicion of forceful conversion by ABVP members in Jhansi

Nuns forced off train on suspicion of forceful conversion by ABVP members in Jhansi

The incident comes at a time BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh has acquired a poor reputation for crimes against women
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Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow   |   Published 25.03.21, 12:46 AM

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad members allegedly forced two nuns and two women postulants off a long-distance train in Jhansi on March 19, alleging they were involved in religious conversion.

Despite the women’s plea that they were law-abiding citizens, they were taken to the Government Railway Police station at Jhansi Junction and forced to sit there for four hours from 7.30pm till 11.30pm.

A postulant is a candidate, especially one seeking admission into a religious order. The four Delhi-based women hailed from Kerala and were travelling from Delhi to Rourkela in Odisha on the Kalinga-Utkal Express.

Chandrakant Yadav, an ABVP leader from Jhansi, said five members of his organisation were on the train and had complained against the nuns to the railway police, who asked the women to get off the train.

The incident comes at a time BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh has acquired a poor reputation for crimes against women, with several ruling party politicians among the accused and the police often playing a dubious role. The ABVP is the student arm of the RSS.

Friday’s atrocity came to light after Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, and Archbishop Felix Machado, secretary-general of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), issued a media release on Wednesday.

“The CBCI is deeply saddened and shocked by the attack on four religious sisters belonging to the Congregation of the Sacred Heart Society. Such incidents surely bring dishonour and shame to all of us, the law-abiding citizens of our beloved Mother India,” the archbishop said.

“It is distressing that the four religious sisters were accused of unfounded allegations by some fellow travellers without any recourse to law even though the young women informed them that they were Catholics and bona fide citizens of the Indian Republic.”

He said the railway police took the nuns into custody and released them only after a senior police officer “verified the matter”. The Jhansi Bishop’s House later helped them resume their journey.

“The CBCI calls upon all respective government authorities, central, state and the Indian Railways to ensure safety of all women in future,” the archbishop said.

Vijayan was quoted by the media as saying such incidents tarnished India’s image.

The Puri-bound train had started its journey from Haridwar and the nuns and postulants had boarded it at Delhi’s Hazrat Nizamuddin station.

“There were two nuns and two trainees (postulants). The ABVP members, who were returning from a training camp at Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, thought the two nuns were taking the other two for religious conversion,” Naeem Khan Mansooru, deputy superintendent of railway police in Jhansi, said.

“They called the Railway Protection Force, which passed on the information to the GRP. Later, the GRP found that all four were Christians by birth. They were then allowed to resume their journey.”

A police source in Lucknow said a probe had been started against the ABVP members and that “the guilty will be brought to book eventually”.

Yadav, the ABVP leader, said: “The GRP has the authority to probe a complaint. But this matter was over once they realised the women were not into any illegal activity. The matter was closed from our side. Even the media didn’t feel like raising this issue at the time. It is being raised unnecessarily after so many days.”

Hair act death in Kerala

A 12-year-old boy died of burns while reportedly trying to imitate a hair-straightening act shown on social media. Sivanarayanan on Tuesday applied kerosene to his hair and tried to straighten it with a lit matchstick, police said. The boy died in a hospital.



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