Two persons were arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Jhansi district late on Thursday evening, weeks after two nuns from Kerala were harassed and deboarded from a running train. The accused, identified as Anchal Arjaria and Purgesh Amaria, were arrested at around 10 pm while the railway police was patrolling at the Jhansi railway station, said an official.
“In the case of forceful deboarding of nuns and teenagers from coach B-2 of Utkal Express at Jhansi railway station on 19 March 2021, the district administration and police administration have detained Anchal Arjaria and Purgesh Amaria for involvement in the incident. Against will be taken against others also,” a statement from the Jhansi administration said.
The accused men are affiliated to right wing groups in Jhansi, said reports.
“Around 10 pm at night , a team of the railway police was carrying out a patrolling exercise at the Jhansi railway station when the were informed that two people had been discussing the March 19 incident and saying that the police did not act properly and let off the nuns. The men were questioned and the men got agitated and said they would plan a protest against the cops. This is why they have been arrested. The police has taken suo moto cognizance of this case and we will file an FIR and send them to jail,” Naeem Kham Mansoori, a senior official of the railway police, said.
Last month, two nuns were heckled and forced to deboard a train in Jhansi by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (AVBP) and people from other right wing groups who suspected the nuns of taking two young girls for conducting religious conversion. The nuns were allowed to proceed on their journey only after an inquiry was conducted at the railway station which established that there was no conversion involved.
According to officials, the nuns were detained after ABVP activists gave a written complaint alleging that two girls were being forcibly taken for religious conversion. The police, however, said that there was no basis in the complaint and all four women later took the next train to their destination in Odisha.
The ABVP is the student’s wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
Expressing his anger over the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote a letter to Union home minister Amit Shah demanding strict action against the accused, who in return promised an action on the matter. “I want to assure the people of Kerala that the culprits behind this incident will be brought to justice at the earliest,” Shah said days later during a poll rally in Kerala.
Last week, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal claimed that the incident was false and the alleged that Vijayan was “making false statements” on the issue. “There was no attack on any nun whatsoever…the Chief Minister of the state (Kerala) is completely lying and making false statements when he says that,” Goyal had said.