06/15/2017, 09.37
INDIA
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Christians of Madhya Pradesh demand justice for the sister arrested with false accusations of forced conversions

by Nirmala Carvalho

Sister Bina Joseph is "traumatized". The religious was detained for 12 hours along with four tribal girls. The Archdiocese of Bhopal presents an complaint to the head of state railways. The women are in the Pastoral Center. Provincial of the Carmelites: "We will continue to serve the poor."

Bhopal (AsiaNews) - Bhopal Christians demand justice for Sister Bina Joseph, detained two days ago in Madhya Pradesh with the false accusation of having forced the conversion of four tribal girls with whom she was just traveling.

Fr. Maria Stephen, head of the Public Relations Office of the Archdiocese of Bhopal, led a delegation of Christians to GP Singh, head of state railways. Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Maria Stephen reports that he "has submitted a memorandum to the attention of the state official, in which we express our concerns about the incidents against Christians in recent days and the harassment of the missionary during the trip." In the paper, he continues, "we have stressed that Christians, like any other citizen of this country, have the right to travel for study, work and religious motives."

The arrest of Sister Bina, of the Carmelite Congregation of St. Theresa (Csst), has upset local Christians. The religious and the four girls she accompanied were detained at Satna station while on board the Shipra Express train from Jharkhand. The railway police forced them to get off the convoy and kept them locked up at Satna Station for at least 12 hours before transporting them to the police station where they were questioned.

The Hindu fundamentalists of Bajrang From the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (Vhp) and Matrushakti (Vhp's female branch) had filed a complaint of forced conversions of the girls. In this regard, Fr. Maria Stephen complains that "the police have halted the journey of Christian missionaries on the basis of a simple claim, without making appropriate verifications. All this goes against the freedom of Indian citizens. "

At the end of the interrogation, the women were released because no apparent evidence was presented against them. "Now the nun and three girls - says the Archdiocese spokesman - are in the Pastoral Center, while a fourth tribal has been taken to the ChildLine Child Center, as the authorities insist on her being underage."

The priest states that the situation has caused "a profound trauma to the nun and the girls". Sister Tripti, deputy provincial of the Carmelites, reports that tribals "come from poor families live in rural areas. They were going to Bhopal for a training period. " In any case, she assures, "this incident will not disorient us, we will continue to serve the poor."

(Photo by Fr. Maria Stephen)

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