The curious case of Mother Teresa’s FCRA and Amit Shah’s MHA

First came a note from Mother Superior Prema that said, among other things, “We would like to clarify that the FCRA registration has not been suspended or canceled. We have been informed that our FCRA renewal request has not been approved. Therefore, as a measure to ensure that there is no lapse, we have instructed our centers not to operate any of the FCRA accounts until the issue is resolved. “

The Central Government Press Information Office issued a statement saying that the “State Bank of India has informed that the Missionaries of Charity themselves have sent a request to the SBI to freeze its accounts. No request / request for revision was received from Missionaries of Charity for the revision of the refusal of renewal.

It doesn’t take an Einstein’s brain to see how the two statements play out. TMC chief O’Brien was absolutely right in dismissing the government’s statement as a damage control exercise.

This refusal of the government to renew the FCRA citing “unfavorable remarks” stigmatizes not only the institutions of the Missionaries of Charity but the name of Mother Saint Thérèse, who is venerated not only by Catholics, but by a large number of people from all over. religious communities. , and even the Communists from his home state of West Bengal.

The Mother had been the target of defamation anyway from the Sangh Parivar, the ideological relative of the Bharatiya Janata party which is in power in India with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister. Even in the past, police and central organizations had attempted to arrest Missionary of Charity sisters on charges such as child trafficking. All the accusations were false.

The government and the ruling party are also apparently sending a message to the Christian community. Christians have made common cause with civil society and with Muslims, who bear the brunt of government and political pressure on violations of civil liberties, freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

On its own issues, the community has managed to rally civil society to vigorously protest against the anti-conversion law introduced in Karnataka.

The Vajpayee and Modi governments in the center and the BJP governments in the states have long wanted the church to stop all social outreach work that empowers people, especially the poor and Adivasis. The Adivasis resist their natural resources, including the primary ones where they inhabit, to be sold to businesses.

And what did these “unfavorable statements” presumably from the Intelligence Bureau, also under the aegis of the MHA, and the Execution Directorate of the Ministry of Finance have to say? Did they discover anti-national activities, acts of treason or plots to go and assassinate someone?

Mother Teresa’s sisters pose no threat to anyone in India or the world. The small Christian community, which represents only 2.3% of the population, also poses no threat to anyone.

Nuns and MC Brothers don’t run fancy schools or private universities that earn millions of dollars. They are also not funded by the government or its agencies. They run shelters for abandoned and left-behind newborns on the streets and landfills by our own young women and men. They run homes for afflicted youth that no government or charitable orphanage would gladly care for. And they care for the needy and the dying, lending a certain dignity to their passage.

Nuns and brothers don’t get any wages, but they do have staff – drivers, cooks and the like – who need to be paid, and there are medicine and food to buy. This FCRA ban is tantamount to starving them and torturing the children and the elderly in their care, to bring them into submission.

And yet they have often been targeted. In Jharkhand, the Missionaries of Charity were persecuted, and now another state is suing two sisters accused of conversion of such a false allegation.

Sisters faced physical violence in Kandhamal district of Orissa state in 2008 during the anti-Christian mass violence in which more than 390 churches and 5,600 or more homes were destroyed. Fortunately, no sister was injured, but several Catholic and Protestant priests were killed.

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