Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday raised and condemned the issue of nuns from Kerala being harassed by members of the Bajrang Dal during a train journey via Uttar Pradesh earlier this week, saying that it was the result of the "vicious propaganda" run by the Sangh Parivar to pitch one community against another and "trample" upon the minorities.
It was on March 19, that two nuns and two postulants belonging to the Sacred Heart convent under the Kerala-based Syro Malabar Church, were forced to deboard an express train and detained for questioning by railway police in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. According to officials in Jhansi, the nuns were detained after local Bajrang Dal activists complained that two women were allegedly being forcibly taken for religious conversion, even though the postulants denied the claims.
A video of the incident had also hit social media, showing the men forcing the nuns to show their identity proofs and pressing for information. The nuns and the postulants were travelling from New Delhi to Rourkela in Odisha.
"The attack in UP on nuns from Kerala is a result of the vicious propaganda run by the Sangh Parivar to pitch one community against another and trample the minorities," Gandhi said in a tweet. "Time for us as a nation to introspect and take corrective steps to defeat such divisive forces," the former Congress chief said.
On Wednesday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking to take action on the incident. Amit Shah who was in Kerala on the day as part of the election campaign, also pledged to take action against the miscreants.
Meanwhile, amid the controversies, the Railway Police in Jhansi has come up with an explanation.
"On March 19, we received a complaint on our helpline from a passenger of Utkal Express against two nuns travelling with two young girls in the same coach. Later, a written complaint was also received. After the probe, we found that there was no case of human trafficking or anything else. They were released and sent back to their destination," a Railways spokesperson said.