Police in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh forced a nun and four girls on their way to Bhopal to get off a train, and detained them following a complaint that the girls were going to be converted.
A local magistrate's court later found that there was no substance in the complaint.
Sister Veena Joseph (50) of Carmelite Sisters of Saint Teresa Congregation, Bhopal, and the four girls were taken off Shipra Express at Satna station at around 11.30 am yesterday.
Workers of Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad had complained that Joseph was taking the girls to Bhopal from Jharkhand's Pakur district for religions conversion.
Following the complaint, district authorities rushed to the station. Tehsildar B K Mishra said he recorded their statements before handing them over to police. The police then took them to sub-divisional magistrate Balveer Raman's court.
The judge noted that the girls were from Christian families, and were going to Bhopal for studying there, so they should be allowed to go wherever they want, said inspector Sitaram Bakri of GRP.
However, one of the four girls was handed over to an NGO as she is a minor. She would be handed over to her family members who had been informed, inspector Bakri said.
After the SDM's court said that no case was made out, police set the nun and the other three girls free at around 11.30 pm yesterday. They had to spend the night with a local catholic organisation as there were no trains for Bhopal at that hour.
MP Isai Mahasangh spokesperson Richard James said the organisation's representatives would meet the MP Director General of Police tomorrow.
"We will demand action against the people who literally tortured the nun and the girls," he added. "The incident proves that we can no longer move in groups in the state. A smear campaign is on to defame us for no reason," he said.