A local court in Gujarat's Vadodara has ordered the police to “refrain from arresting” two nuns of the Missionaries of Charity till 10 January. The order came on Wednesday, 5 January.
The court adjourned the hearing in the anticipatory bail application, in a case under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003.
The two nuns were booked in Vadodara for allegedly “hurting Hindu religious sentiments” and “luring towards Christianity young girls” in the shelter home run by the organisation founded by Mother Teresa.
The police is yet to submit an affidavit explaining the use of two sections of the Act that were stayed by the Gujarat High Court last year.
Additional sessions judge restricted the police from any action until the next hearing on 10 January, the day when the police is expected to file an affidavit.
Advocate Jahangir Shaikh, representing the Missionaries of Charity, requested the court to decide on the anticipatory bail application as the police had failed to file the affidavit as directed by the court.
“Police are trying to delay the inevitable by seeking adjournments as two sections have been stayed by the High Court in August," Shaikh told The Indian Express.
A team of five officers of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) visited the shelter home on 9 December and submitted a report to the District Magistrate on 11 December.
The committee had urged that an FIR be filed against the organisation as per the provisions of the Gujarat Juvenile Justice Rules 2019.
The visit to the the shelter home in December took place after a letter from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
The FIR lodged on 12 December states that the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) had recommended to find “an alternative to this organisation".
The FIR includes the mention of alleged forced conversion of a Punjabi woman through marriage to a Christian by the Missionaries of Charity.
The Vadodara Crime Branch took over the investigation on 28 December.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Crime said that the police issued notices to the Punjabi woman who was allegedly converted, to appear before the police.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)
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