Published On: Sat, Aug 31st, 2019

India to expel 86-year-old nun, Sister Enedina, denying her visa

The Indian government has not renewed a visa for 86-year-old Sister Enedina who has served the poor in India for decades as a part of the Daughters of Charity. The visa was refused on August 11 and Sister Enedina was told she would have to leave the country in 10 days. Sister Enedina had renewed her visa periodically since 1965 with no issues. The government agency that deals with visa renewals has a strict policy of not stating why visas are denied.

Sister Enedina

The case of Sister Enedina arises at a time of growing influence of Hindu Nationalism in political parties like the BJP and other organizations like the RSS and VHP spur on hatred of Christians and other religious minorities. Leaders of all three organizations consistently incite violence against all non-Hindu people of India in the wake of calling for the growth of the Hindutva movement. The embedded notion of Hindutva calls all other religions non-Indian and foreign influences on the Indian way of life and culture.

The BJP, which has become a formidable force in Indian elections, is placing likeminded leaders into agencies across the Indian governance system to implement Hindu nationalist policies all over the country. These ideas are being engrained into the very fabric of Indian society, culture and politics.

While India today has celebrated its religious pluralism as the land of Gandhi, the reality of life on the ground for religious minorities looks very different. Beatings, public humiliations, disruptions of worship services and other forms of harassment are commonplace for Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, and other religious minority groups. Vigilante violence is common place and perpetrators of these violations operate with near complete impunity.

The expulsion of the Sister Enedina is nothing more than a symptom of a hate filled ideology of Hindu nationalism being implemented in policy. Sister Enedina, has dedicated her life to fulfil her calling to serve the poor in India, which no doubt, she would not hesitate to continue to do if her visa was not denied. Her case is one among many other acts of discrimination that are being institutionalized in India, and it is time for the free world to hold Indian leadership accountable for their actions.

The United States with the alliance structure should press India to end these discriminatory tactics and encourage the expansion of religious freedom in India; a country that once hailed religious tolerance.


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