Home Minister Amit Shah, addressing a rally in Kerala, has said that strict action will be taken against the culprits who harrassed four nuns who were aboard a train journeying through Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.
The group consisting of Two nuns and two postulants of the Sacred Hearts Congregation of Delhi Province were forced t0 get off a train by the Railway police in Jhansi after a group of men in the train, who claimed to be working for the “Hindu Samaaj”, suspected that the girls were being taken for forceful conversion– an accusation that later proved to be false, the Indian Express reported.
Earlier today, Kerala's Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written to the Home Minister asking for intervention in the case. The CM said that such matters required utmost condemnation by the Union Government.
"You would agree with me, that such incidences tarnish the image of the nation and its ancient tradition of religious tolerance and practices," he wrote, asking for intervention and seeking action against all groups and individuals who disrupt and impair the freedom of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
Addressing the concerns, Shah said that the culprits behind the incident will be brought to justice at the earliest.
"I want to assure the people of Kerala that the culprits behind this incident will be brought to justice at the earliest," the home minister was quoted as saying.
Speaking to the paper, Sister Maria who was handling the case on behalf of the congregation in Delhi but not a member of the four involved, said that a group of male co-passengers who were with the group began questioning the women about who they were and what their identities are, following which they began accusing the nuns of taking the girls for conversion.
"The men complained to the Railway police in Jhansi and forced them to get off the train there," she told the paper.
According to the report, a video began circulating on social media where the girls were shown being questioned by the Railway Protection Force and others. It also showed men heckling in the background within the railway compartment.
In it, one of the girls explains that she was already a Christian and that they were on their way to becoming nuns.
“It was only after the intervention of Lucknow Inspector General of Police, the nuns and postulants were released from the police station around 11 PM in the night,” Vijayan wrote in his letter to the Home Minister.
When the police were asked about how bona fide ticket holders can be forcefully detrained based on a suspicion of forceful religious conversion, a Senior RPF official responded by saying that by law, any passenger can raise a complaint about a cognizable offence.
"Based on that police can detain," he was quoted saying.