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Kerala nuns harassment case: Accused released from jail on bail, Here is what happened on March 19
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Kerala nuns' harassment case: Accused released from jail on bail, Here is what happened on March 19


Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh): Three right wing leaders, including an Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) member, involved in harassing two nuns and their two students recently, have been granted bail by the city magistrate's court.

All the three were released from the jail on Wednesday evening.

All the three accused persons, Ajay Shankar Tiwari, an ABVP member, Anchal Arjaria, president of Rashtra Bhakt Sangathan and Purgesh Amaria, secretary of the Hindu Jagran Manch, were arrested by GRP on April 2 in connection with the harassment of two nuns and their two students, who were travelling to Rourkela in Orissa from Delhi on Utkal Express on March 19.

The incident snowballed into a controversy after Kerala Chief Minister made a written complaint to Home Minister Amit Shah, who assured him of justice.

An investigation was initiated by Superintendent of Police GRP Lucknow, Saumitra Yadav, who holds additional charge of Jhansi.

Based on his report, all the three were arrested as a preventive measure.

City Magistrate, Salil Patel, said: "All the three were arrested under section 151 CrPC for the breach of peace. They have been released on bail and I have given next date on April 22 for further trial.

What happened on March 19

On March 19th four nuns, including one from Kerala, from the Delhi province of the Sacred Heart congregation were attacked during their train journey from Nizamuddin station in Delhi to Rourkela in Odisha. The incident happened when the train reached Jhansi station at about 6.30 pm.

The nun's were followed by Bajrang Dal men on board and attacked. They were forced to change their clothes to avoid the habit and headgear they wear. The Bajrang Dal workers, who were returning from a pilgrimage, were deliberately making a ruckus with them. They alleged that the two postulants among them were being taken for religious conversion. The Bajrang Dal men refused to take at face value their affirmation that they were both Christians by birth.

According to one of nun's who reacted to Madhyamam, those Bajrang Dal men created a furore alleging that two women were being taken for conversion. When they repeated the allegation to create an issue, one of the nuns called the provincial house in Delhi and apprised them of the situation and the latter became anxious especially with the noise heard over the phone.

But that also triggered the Banrajg Dal men intensifying their attempt to provoke, and they started questioning the Christian faith and shouting slogans of Jai Shriram, and Jai Hanuman. They were heard repeatedly asserting to the postulants that they were not Christians and were being led for conversions.

When the train reached Jhansi station, UP police officials arrived on the scene and asked all the four to get out of the train with their luggage. By that time, about 150 Bajrang Dal were standing outside the train calling Jai Shriram. The nuns informed them that they were going on vacation and they would not get out without the escort of female police.

But rejecting their suggestion, the police pulled them out of the train by force. Although they showed documents including their Aadhaar card to prove their innocence, the attackers, and the policemen who stood in their support, refused to accept it.

They were greeted by the large crowd of Bajrang Dal workers shouting Jai Shriram calls and then led amidst the din all the way from the railway station to the police station. All along, the mob were shouting extremely communal slogans. At one point, one of the nuns adamantly refused to move any further, without the escort of policewomen.

Within a short time, two policewomen were summoned and the nuns were led to the police station. Although they were getting repeated phone calls from anxious callers in Delhi to know what was happening, the police and the assailants did not allow them to take calls. When it transpired that by that time the train had left Jhansi without them on board, those in Delhi got more worried.

The Bajrang Dal workers were all along engaged in high-pitched sloganeering and creating an atmosphere of fear. They dispersed only when the heavy downpour started. The nuns in Delhi then apprised top police officials in Delhi, Bishop House in Jhansi and the IG in Lucknow, via a clergyman who is also a lawyer known to them. At the instance of the IG, top police officials and priests arrived on the spot which saved the nuns from further attacks.

The nuns were released from the police station around midnight on the same day and were led to the Bishop House in Jhansi. According to Church sources it was because of the sole reason that they were Christian nuns that they were made victims of the attack. They made their onward journey to the destination in Odisha wearing normal clothes with a police escort.

Later, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 24 had assured that strict action would be taken against all those involved while addressing an election rally.

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