A day after the Syro Malabar-Church said in a statement that a group of Kerala nuns were attacked by Bajrang Dal men during a train journey in Uttar Pradesh, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has come out condemning the incident. Writing a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Pinarayi Vijayan urged that the Union government should condemn the attack. The CM has also asked the Home Minister to ensure action is taken against the attackers.
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 travelling from New Delhi to Rourkela, in Odisha, and were attacked by the Bajrang Dal men. They accused the nuns of forcefully converting the postulants into Christianity. Videos of the incident which surfaced on social media showed the Bajrang Dal men creating a ruckus inside the train, as it reached Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh. Following the incident, the nuns and the postulants were taken into custody by the Railway police. Though they had shown their Aadhar cards stating they are Christians, they were interrogated for four hours based on the allegations made by Bajrang Dal. They were only let off after top officials called and verified their identity, the Church said.
Condemning the incident, Pinarayi Vijayan slammed the police for taking the nuns into custody without the presence of any women police officers. Pinarayi Vijayan also said that such incidents tarnish the image of religious harmony of the country.
It was only after the matter was taken up with higher officials and after the intervention of Lucknow Inspector General (IG) of police, that the nuns and postulants were released from the police station at around 11 PM at night, the CM said in the letter.
Harassment of nuns in UP is shocking. Indian citizens' fundamental rights have been violated. @BajrangdalOrg & @Uppolice have tarnished India's image and our ancient tradition of religious tolerance. Wrote to @HMOIndia requesting intervention, so that authorities take action. pic.twitter.com/H9IMAupesdâ€” Pinarayi Vijayan (@vijayanpinarayi) March 24, 2021
"You would agree with me that such incidents tarnish the image of the nation and its ancient tradition of religious tolerance and practice. Such incidents require utmost condemnation by the Union government," Pinarayi Vijayan said in the letter.
He also asked the Home Minister to intervene and instruct authorities concerned "to take strict action on all groups and individuals who disrupt and impair the freedom of individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution."
Watch video of the attack: