The railway police in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi has arrested two people in a case related to the harassment suffered by the nuns belonging to a Kerala based congregation during a train journey last month.
“In the case of forceful deboarding of nuns and teenagers from coach B-2 of Utkal Express at Jhansi railway station on 19 March 2021, the district administration and police administration have detained Anchal Arjaria and Purgesh Amaria for involvement in the incident. Against will be taken against others also,” a statement from the Jhansi administration said.
A railway police official said on record last night the men had been arrested.
“Around 10 pm at night , a team of the railway police was carrying out a patrolling exercise at the Jhansi railway station when the were informed that two people had been discussing the march 19 incident and saying that the police did not act properly and let off the nuns. The men were questioned and the men got agitated and said they would plan a protest against the cops. This is why they have been arrested. The police has taken suo moto cognizance of this case and we will file an FIR and send them to jail,” Naeem Kham Mansoori, a senior official of the railway police, said.
Reports said the arrested men are affiliated to right wing groups in Jhansi.
The nuns and their two novices were heckled and forced to get off a train in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (who suspected them of conducting religious conversion) and people from other right wing groups on March 19. They were allowed to proceed only after an inquiry at the railway station established there was no conversion involved. The ABVP is the student’s wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
The incident – which took place just ahead of polls in Kerala – had generated outrage. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had demanded strict action against the accused in a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah.
After outrage, Mr Shah had promised action in the matter. “I want to assure the people of Kerala that the culprits behind this incident will be brought to justice at the earliest,” Mr Shah had said during a poll rally in Kerala.
Last week, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had dismissed as wrong the allegations that the nuns were “attacked” and alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was “making false statements” on the issue.
“There was no attack on any nun whatsoever…the Chief Minister of the state (Kerala) is completely lying and making false statements when he says that,” Mr Goyal told a press conference in Kochi.
According to officials in Jhansi, the nuns were detained after the ABVP activists gave a written complaint that two women were allegedly being taken forcibly for religious conversion.
The police had said there was no basis in the complaint and all four women later took the next train to their destination in Odisha.