Union Home Minister Amit Shah has promised to take action against those involved in the harassment of two Kerala nuns in Uttar Pradesh. The Home Minister’s reply came after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to him demanding strict action against the accused.
Shah, who is currently campaigning for BJP in Kerala, said that those accused will face action. “Those involved in the nuns’ harassment incident in Jhansi will be brought before the law,” Shah said.
Earlier, Kerala CM Vijayan wrote to Shah saying the Centre must condemn such incidents as it tarnishes the image of the nation.
“Such incidents tarnish the image of the nation and its ancient tradition of religious tolerance. The Union government must condemn such incidents. 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.
According to a press release by Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church Media Commission, on March 19, two nuns were forced to change their religious habit into civilian clothes midway through a rail journey to protect themselves and two postulants with them from possible attacks by right-wing Hindu activists.
The group were travelling from Delhi to Rourkela in Odisha. The nuns were in their religious habit, while the girls were in civilian dress. The postulants, who had joined the Sacred Hearts Congregation of the Delhi Province recently, were going home for Easter holidays and the nuns were accompanying them for safety.
When the train reached Jhansi, reportedly, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members suspected the nuns of conducting religious conversion. ABVP is the student's wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The ABVP youths then began causing a commotion and accused the nuns of violating Uttar Pradesh's anti-conversion law.
The nuns were taken into custody by the police after they arrived at the Jhansi railway station, even though they had valid documents. The nuns and the postulants were quizzed for five hours and released after officials from Jhansi Diocese intervened by contacting senior police officials. The group was allowed to continue their journey the next day on another train with a police escort as they feared retaliation from the right-wing Hindu activists.
The Syro Malabar Church stated that it suspects a premeditated attack, considering that around 150 right-wing Hindu activists had assembled at the railway station at short notice. Meanwhile, reportedly, the police said there is no evidence that the nuns indulged in religious conversion.