Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) heckled two nuns and their novices in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi area on suspicion of religious conversion.
The nuns were also forced to get off a train and allowed to proceed only after an inquiry at the railway station established there was no conversion involved, NDTV reported.
The ABVP is the student’s wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
The incident, which took place on Friday, has generated outrage, with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan writing to Home Minister Amit Shah asking for strict action.
“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,” the Chief Minister wrote.
The nuns were travelling on the Haridwar-Puri Utkal Express on19 March. A 25-second video from the train compartment shows the women surrounded by some men, some of whom appear to be policemen.
“Go get your luggage. You will be sent home if what you are saying is correct,” a man is heard saying.
“Why are you indulging in netagiri,” another said.
Other videos and photographs from the Jhansi railway station showed the women on the railway platform and then, inside what appeared to be a Jhansi Railway Police station.
“There were some members of the ABVP who were returning from a training camp in Rishikesh on board the Utkal express to Jhansi. Four Christian ladies were travelling on the same train from Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi to Rourkela in Odisha. Two of them were nuns and two were under training. These members of the ABVP 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,” Naeem Khan Mansuri, the Superintendent of Railway Police in Jhansi said in a detailed statement.