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Nun, Four Girls Held on Suspicion of Conversion Bid in MP; Court Finds No Fault

Friday, June 30, 2017, 14:34 (IST)

Police detained a Catholic nun on June 13, in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh on suspicion of converting four girls.

The railway police forced Sister Veena Joseph, of the Carmelite Sisters of St Teresa Congregation and the four girls on their way to Bhopal to get off a train and locked them up at Satna Station for about 12 hours before taking them to the police station where they were interrogated.

The Christians in the city accused the police for making false charges against the nun and demanded justice. Later, a local magistrate court declared that there was no apparent evidence against them and no substance in the complaint.

Fr Maria Stephen, head of the Public Relations Office of the Archdiocese of Bhopal said, "The police halted the journey of Christian missionary on the basis of a simple claim, without making appropriate verifications."

"All this goes against the freedom of Indian citizens," he added.

The Hindu fundamentalists belonging to Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Matrushakti groups had filed a complaint of forced conversion of the girls who were travelling along with the nun to Bhopal from Jharkhand.

When they were taken to the court, the judge noted that the girls were from Christian families, and were travelling to Bhopal for studying there, so they should be permitted to go wherever they want.

Fr Stephen along with a group of Christians submitted a memorandum to G.P. Singh, head of state railways, and expressed his distress over the incident against Christians and the harassment of the nun. "We have stressed that Christians, like any other citizen of this country, have the right to travel for study, work and religious motives," he said.

The police set the nun and the girls free at around mid-night. They had to wait the entire night at the locality as there were no trains for Bhopal that hour.

When Fr Stephen addressed the local press, he said the hostile incident would not disorient the nun and the girls and they would continue their missionary journey.