Indian Minister Promises Justice for Nuns Forced from Train Amid Rising Tensions

04/05/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has responded to a Hindu nationalist mob forcing four Christians off a train in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Minister Shah said on March 24 that “those involved in the harassment incident will be brought before the law. I want to assure the people that the culprits behind this incident will be brought to justice.”

On March 19, two nuns and two postulates from the Sacred Heart Congregation in Kerala were traveling from New Delhi to Rouekela by train. When the train made a stop in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, the Christians were forced off the train by a mob of 150 Hindu Vahini members. The mob accused the nuns of trying to forcibly convert the postulates. Despite the postulates having identification that they were already Christians, the mob did not relent and eventually handed them over to the police while shouting Hindu nationalist slogans and obscenities.

The mob has since been widely criticized, particularly in Kerala State, home of the Sacred Heart Congregation, where high-ranking members of opposition parties called on the ruling BJP government in New Delhi to respond.

The government’s answer came from Home Minister Shah, former president of the BJP and a confidant of Prime Minster Modi, who gave his assurances of justice while speaking at an election rally in Kerala. The Hindu-dominated BJP is currently supporting a Catholic in Kerala as its candidate in the largely Christian Kanjirappally region.

All of this comes amid the backdrop of increasingly evident persecution in BJP-controlled territories in India. For the past few years, persecution of Christians in BJP areas has been on the rise, and nationalist groups associated with the BJP’s parent organization, the RSS, are frequently connected to attacks on religious minorities. The group Hindu Vahini, whose members drove the nuns from the train, was founded by one of the most outspoken Hindu nationalists in the BJP and current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath. Christianity has been under increasing pressure in Uttar Pradesh due to an anti-conversion law passed in late 2020 that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

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