10/12/2021, 15.23
INDIA
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Two nuns accused of ‘conversions’ seized at a bus stop in Uttar Pradesh

by Nirmala Carvalho

A mob of Hindu extremists dragged two Ursuline Franciscan nuns to a police station along with a group of Evangelical Christians who were praying at a private home. The religious sisters were released after six hours. For Christian leader, “In today's political climate in India, wearing a religious habit means being marked out as a target.”

Varanasi (AsiaNews) – Police arrested two nuns in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and held them for a few hours in the latest anti-Christian incident caused by Hindu extremists. 

The two religious sisters were catching a bus, when they were forcibly grabbed by a group of radicals who took them to a police station along with another fifty Christians, accused of abusive conversion activities.

“The incident took place in Mau, a district in eastern Uttar Pradesh,” said Fr Anand Mathew, of the Indian Missionary Society, speaking to AsiaNews from Varanasi.

“Around noon, a mob of extremists attacked a group of Christians gathered for the Sunday celebration. 

"The two women religious, Sister Gracy Monteiro and Sister Roshni Minj, of the congregation of the Ursuline Franciscans, were not part of the group, but were waiting at a nearby stop for a bus to Varanasi,” Fr Mathew explained; however, they too “were dragged to the police station” and “released only at 6 pm, after pressure from high-ranking police officials from the state capital.”

Rev Abraham Shakil (pictured), his wife Pratibha, and the couple where the Evangelicals met for a prayer meeting were arrested. This came after Hindu extremists filed a complaint against them “insulting the Hindu deities, the prime minister and the head of government of Uttar Pradesh.”

“The fact that nuns have also been targeted evinces a sinister new development in the current wave of anti-Christian persecution,” noted Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

“In today's political climate in India, wearing a religious habit means being marked out as a 'target' or an ‘agent of conversion’ by right-wing vigilantes,” George said. “Last March, in Uttar Pradesh, two nuns were forced to get off a train”.

In his view, “The local new anti-conversion law is a tool for political abuses that aim to stir up feelings of hatred against the small Christian community for electoral purposes in view of the 2022 [state] assembly elections.”

Photo: GCIC

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