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BJP George Kurian condemns attack on nuns by Bajrang Dal, asks CM Yogi to place an inquiry

IndiaBJP George Kurian condemns attack on nuns by Bajrang Dal, asks CM Yogi to place an inquiry

Kerala, BJP general secretary George Kurian, also ex-vice-chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities raised an inquiry into the attack of four nuns in Jhansi on Friday, March 19, by a group of Bajrang Dal men while they were traveling by train from New Delhi to their homes at Rourkela in Odisha.

Without specifically naming the Bajrang Dal, he condemned the incident, writing a letter to party colleague and Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath seeking an investigation into the matter and demanding penalties for the “overzealous individuals”, including police officers present who also heckled the four nuns.  The letter stated, “It is learnt that four nuns belonging to the Sacred Heart Congregation of Delhi Province who were on their way to Odisha from Delhi on train had to face some harrowing time due to the action of some overzealous individuals and police.”

On Monday, the Syro-Malabar Church condemned the attack of Friday on the four nuns including two postulants, by Bajrang Dal workers while they were traveling by train to their hometown. Two nuns were with the two postulants, who had joined the Sacred Hearts Congregation of the Delhi Province recently, were traveling for the first time to their homes.

Bajrang Dal workers, who had boarded the train from Rishikesh, started to create an upheaval on seeing the postulants in their nuns’ habits presumptuously deciding that they were being taken for religious conversion. After this, the Bajrang Dal workers went to the railway police and falsely told them that the nuns were taking the postulants for forcible religious conversion, following which they were also heckled and taken into custody.

The nuns were later released after senior police officials intervened. The Church says that they suspect it was a premeditated attack as around 150 Bajrang Dal workers had assembled at the railway station in such a short time.

The Bajrang Dal workers claim that the nuns were forcefully converting the postulants into Christianity.  One of the strongest tenants of Christianity is service to humanity, and have been doing so for generations, but propaganda and fear-mongering over years by radicals has led people to think those good works is done to convert.

When Christian workers help lepers, poor and the vulnerable, and “untouchables” in society and if some convert out of gratefulness or the touch of the “divine”, it is only a matter of choice as religion is either through birth or personal decisions.  No one can covert anyone forcefully in India, which incidentally, is a Hindu majoritarian nation, and conversations to Christianity have born violent repercussions in the past too.

Dara Singh (Rabindra Kumar Pal; born 2 October 1962), a serial killer, a Bajrang Dal activist, and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party became well-known in India after he was convicted for leading a mob and setting fire to the Station wagon in which the Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two children were sleeping, which burned them alive, in Orissa.

Singh was also charged with the murder of Muslim trader Shaikh Rehman, where he chopped off his arms before setting him ablaze at Padibeda village in Karanjia sub-division of Mayurbhanj district.  He was also convicted of the murder of a Christian priest, Fr. Arul Das, in Jamboni village in the same district. The priest was killed by an arrow during his escape after his church was set on fire.

Singh was arrested after a year-long chase in January 2000 after the murder of Graham Staines and is now serving his life sentence in prison.

The 2008 Kandhamal violence refers to widespread violence against Christians purportedly incited by Hindutva organizations in the Kandhamal district of Orissa, India, in August 2008 after the murder of the Hindu monk Lakshmanananda Saraswati.

According to government reports the violence resulted in at least 39 Christians killed, (Unofficial reports place the number of those killed at more than 500 due to the burned skeletons found) and 3906 Christian houses completely destroyed. Reports state, more than 395 churches were razed or burnt down, over 5,600 – 6,500 houses plundered or burnt down, over 600 villages ransacked, and more than 60,000 – 75,000 people left homeless.

It is also said that more than 40 women were sexually assaulted.   Many Christian families were burnt alive. Thousands of Christians were forced to convert to Hinduism under the threat of violence. This violence was led by the Bajrang Dal, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and the VHP.

Religious intolerance and violence are being triggered in India once again.

Link to the Kandhamal massacre  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Kandhamal_violence 

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