RPF gets plaints of ‘evangelists’ on passenger trains, launches probe

RPF gets plaints of ‘evangelists’ on passenger trains, launches probe

Siddharth Prabhakar | TNN, Jun 14, 2019, 09:27 IST

CHENNAI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) of the Chennai division of Southern Railway has received complaints from commuters of evangelists travelling on passenger trains and indulging in religious conversion activities. 

According to official sources, a complaint was received from a passenger on Wednesday about a group of people who were travelling on a passenger train on the Chennai-Tiruchirapalli section. Two of them were trying to spread the “word of Jesus Christ” and claiming that their illness was cured after they embraced Christianity. They were also recommending the passengers to embrace Christianity like them. 

A video of this incident was posted by the passenger, who tagged the relevant railway officials on a social media platform, seeking action.

The RPF which was asked to look into the complaint has sent its inspectors to conduct inspections on the trains in the Chennai-Tiruchirpalli section, said a senior officer. 
“RPF inspectors at Villupuram station have been asked to travel on trains and identify these people,” the official said. 

However, RPF can only book these people under Section 145 of the Indian Railways Act which deals with committing nuisance or indecency or obscene language.

“The passenger has clearly complained that the proselytising act of the duo was a nuisance to passengers. This is akin to unauthorized vendors who sell their wares on trains or beggars and transgenders who are found to harass passengers,” said the official. 

Some commuters have pointed out how such proselytising acts have taken place even on suburban trains in Chennai, but in a subtler manner. “Once a lady sitting beside me was reading a religious book on the train. When she saw me glancing at her book, she immediately pulled out another copy and asked me to read it,” said a 35-year-old woman passenger, requesting anonymity. 

The act of proselytising is not illegal in Tamil Nadu. “In states like Madhya Pradesh or Odisha, there is a law against alluring a person for religious conversion. But in Tamil Nadu, the RPF or railway police can book such persons only for nuisance,” said Avinash Wadhwani, a HC advocate.

Source: timesofindia.com

 



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