India bars Mother Teresa charity from receiving foreign funds: India has moved to cut off foreign funding to a charity founded by Mother Teresa, decision critics described as further evidence of harassment of Christians under the Hindu nationalist government
India’s home ministry said in a statement that the foreign funding registration had not been renewed due to negative inputs.
Thousands of volunteers undertake welfare projects with the Missionaries of Charity throughout India on initiatives such as orphanages, schools, clinics, and hospices.
Dominic Gomes, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, said the announcement was “a cruel Christmas gift to the poorest of the poor”.
The news came two weeks after police in Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, began investigating the charity for alleged “forceful conversion” of Hindus to Christianity — a regular accusation by hardline members of India’s majority religion.
The charity, on the other hand, has refuted the charges.
Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slammed the Indian government’s decision in a tweet.
She said that she is “shocked” to hear that on the occasion of Christmas, the Union Ministry of India “froze all bank accounts” of Mother Teresa Missionaries of Charity in India.
“Their 22,000 patients & employees have been left without food & medicines.”
The Missionaries of Charity was founded in 1950 by the late Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who devoted most of her life to helping the poor in the eastern city of Kolkata. She won the Nobel Peace Prize and was later declared a saint.
Her organization runs shelter homes across India. According to the Hindu daily, it received around $750 million from abroad in the 2020-21 financial year.
Activists say that religious minorities in India have faced increased levels of discrimination and violence since Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014.
In 2020, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom listed India as a “country of particular concern” for the first time since 2004.
Modi’s government rejects having a radical “Hindutva” (Hindu hegemony) agenda and insists people of all religions have equal rights.
India’s government has also in recent years increased pressure on non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding, including rights groups.
The Missionaries of Charity said in a statement that it had instructed its centers not to use any foreign currency account “until the matter is resolved”.