Child protection agency terrifies girls in a Sagar hostel run by nuns
by Nirmala Carvalho

Child protection agency president inspected the Bishop Clemens Memorial Boarding hostel searching evidence of "conversions" by the nuns. Fr Joseph would like to see the same agency “take note of the safety and security of thousands of children living in the streets of Indian cities.”

Sagar (AsiaNews) – A Catholic hostel for girls in Madhya Pradesh has been the subject of an inspection by India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

Seeking evidence of alleged conversions by the nuns who run the facility, the Commission did not hesitate from traumatising the girls with questions and searches in their rooms.

The Bishop Clemens Memorial hostel, which was opened in 2014 by the Sisters of Jesus, is located in Intkheri, a village in located in the Diocese of Sagar.

NCPCR president Priyank Kanoongo, who is originally from Madhya Pradesh, came to the facility Monday with a group of people and went through the hostel, which currently houses 19 students aged 14 to 17 enrolled in public schools in Raisen district.

“They opened cupboards, checked private rooms as well as bags in search of evidence,” said Sister Jancy, a councillor with the Sisters of Jesus, speaking to AsiaNews.

“The girls are traumatised. There is no conversion activity in our hostel. They found that five girls had books on Christian faith, but they are Catholic girls who came here from their village to study,” Sister Jancy explained.

“Our order works to empower girls through education with particular attention to those who come from the poorest families. This is why we offer them hospitality in the hostel.”

The following day the Commission returned to question the girls and two nuns separately.

The hostel’s permits have been questioned, despite the fact that the Bishop Clemens Memorial Boarding hostel duly registered through online procedures, like all hostels in the Diocese of Sagar.

“The NCPCR is entrusted with the task of ensuring the safety and security of children in the country and in this case, there is no serious cause for concern,” said Verbite Fr Babu Joseph, a former spokesman for the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), speaking to AsiaNews.

What is more, “finding some Christian literature in an institution managed by Christian women religious does not constitute an offence,” he added.

“I wish that this same commission take note of the safety and security of thousands of children living in the streets of Indian cities.”