Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday promised action against people involved in the heckling and deboarding of two nuns and two trainee nuns from a train in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi on Friday last, March 19. The nuns were said to have been forced off by ABVP members, who alleged the nuns were forcing people to convert. Some reports said these were Bajrang Dal activists.
Following Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s note to the Home Minister, Shah said those involved in the Jhansi nuns’ harassment incident will be brought before the law.
The nuns of the Sacred Heart convent under the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church were travelling on the Haridwar-Puri Utkal Express on March 19. The trainee nuns were dressed in civilian clothes while the nuns were in their habit. A 25-second video from the train shows them surrounded by some men, some of whom appear to be policemen.
A man can be heard telling the women to get their luggage and that they will be sent home.
PTI reported on Wednesday that the Uttar Pradesh Police briefly detained four nuns from Kerala from a train in Jhansi district, and took them for questioning over allegations of forced conversions, based on a complaint by some ABVP members.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to Shah that such incidents tarnish the image of the country and its tradition of religious tolerance. They require utmost condemnation by the Union government, Vijayan added.
He requested the Centre to intervene and instruct authorities to take strict action on all groups, individuals who disrupt, impair the freedom of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
The issue is likely to impact the elections to the Kerala Assembly. Kerala will go to vote on April 6 and the results will be out on May 2, when the fate of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry will be declared along with Kerala’s.