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India: Mother Teresa nuns booked for hurting religious sentiments, Social Activist alleges complaint is fabricated.

The nuns of Missionaries of Charity are booked for hurting religious sentiments and luring young girls towards Christianity in the Gujarat, in north western India on December 12.  Social Activist claims that the allegation is false and fabricated, denounces tactics to tarnish the names of the nuns and deprive the poorest of the poor to receive care and support.
"Kolkata, Missionaries of Charity Sisters at the Park Street Cemetery" by sharon.schneider is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The nuns of Missionaries of Charity are booked for hurting religious sentiments and luring young girls towards Christianity in the Gujarat, in north western India on December 12.

Social Activist claims that the allegation is "false and fabricated," denounces tactics to tarnish the good work of the nuns and deprive the poorest of the poor to receive care and support.

Police in Vadodra city of Gujarat State has booked the nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, founded by St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta,  under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, for allegedly "hurting Hindu religious sentiments" and "luring towards Christianity young girls" in a shelter home the nuns run in the city.

Under the Indian Penal code, the nuns who run the home have been booked under section 295 A, a deliberate and malicious act to outrage the feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs.  The other section the nuns are booked is 298, for deliberately uttering words to wound the religious feelings of a person.

The FIR also invokes sections of the 'Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003,' including those providing for the prohibition of forcible conversion and punishment for it.

"This allegation is totally false and fabricated," Jesuit Human Rights activist Father Cedric Prakash told RVA News.

The Indian Express  reported a statement on behalf of the Missionaries of Charity,

"We are not involved in any religious conversion activity. We have 24 girls in the home. These girls live with us and they follow our practice as they see us doing the same when we pray and live. We have not converted anyone or forced anyone to marry into Christian faith."

Father Cedric Prakash denounced such tactics.

"The calculated attempts to dismantle the tremendous work done by the Missionaries of Charity for the poorest of the poor, the unloved and rejected, the orphans and widows. (These tactics) needs to be condemned unequivocally and strongly by all enlightened citizens who not only value the great legacy Mother Teresa has left us – but who admire the work done by her Sisters today."

"All efforts to tarnish their name will besides hurting their tremendous work will greatly affect the thousands of dying destitute, abandoned and others, irrespective of caste or creed, they so lovingly care for day and night – without counting the cost," the priest urged.

The story begins on August 29 this year, when Priyank Kanoongo, the Chairman of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), paid a "surprise" visit to the Ashram (Centre) and reportedly found a couple of Bibles with the names of a child written on them.

Kanoongo, a member of the RSS, a  Hindu Right Wing organization, directed the District Administration and police to take action.  The District Magistrate and team visited the home and found nothing wrong.

"On December 9, the District Social Defence Officer with the Chairman of the  Child Welfare Committee (CWC) visited the premises during which they 'apparently' found some serious issues," says Father Cedric.

According to Father Cedric, "This visit took place because there was plenty of pressure from 'above.' An report was then filed at the police station, but  the nuns came to learn about it from the media."

On  Monday, December 13, around 7:00 pm, an 'investigation' team consisting of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, the Police station in charge of Makarpura, a Social Welfare Officer from the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and a lady constable visited the premises. They remained there till 11:00 pm.

"On  Tuesday, December 14, another team of police came to the Ashram to interrogate the five girls whose names were written on the Bibles. The team did not allow any Missionaries of Charity nuns or lawyer or representative on behalf of the nuns.  The interrogation lasted for more than four hours," says Father Cedric.

The FIR lodged at Makarpura police station on  Sunday, December 12, is based on a complaint from District Social Defence Officer Mayank Trivedi, who along with the Chairman of the Child Welfare Committee of the district, visited the Home for Girls run by the Missionaries of Charity in Makarpura area on December 9.

The FIR states that during his visit, Trivedi found that girls at Home were being "forced" to read Christian religious texts and participate in prayers of Christian faith, with the intention of "steering them into Christianity."

"Between February 10, 2021, and December 9, 2021, the institution has been involved in activities to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus intentionally and with bitterness… The girls inside the Home for Girls are being lured into adopting Christianity by making them wear the cross around their neck and also placing the Bible on the table of the storeroom used by the girls in order to compel them to read the Bible. It is an attempted crime to force religious conversion upon the girls," the FIR states.

Officials said that according to the complaint by the Child Welfare Committee, the organisation had forced a Hindu girl to marry into a Christian family as per Christian traditions. The complaint also alleged that the girls living in the shelter home had been served non-vegetarian food despite being Hindus.

Assistant Commissioner of Police SB Kumavat said the District Collector had issued instructions to book a case against the organisation after a committee probed the allegations made by Trivedi.

"The District Collector had formed a committee after the complaint from the Child Welfare Committee. A team of members of several departments probed the allegation, following which a complaint has been filed. Police will probe the allegations and gather evidence to see if the contentions are true," Kumavat said.

Vadodara Commissioner of Police Shamsher Singh told The Indian Express that police had begun a probe into the alleged conversion of a woman from Punjab.

"We have begun a probe today based on the complaint. There has been one case of a woman from Punjab being converted by the Missionaries of Charity after she lived in the home, which the committee has reported. There are exhaustive guidelines in place for shelter homes, which they must follow. We will examine the case on the basic FIR," Singh said.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.


Mrs.C Gonsalves, Dec 20 2021 - 1:13pm
We hope and pray that the perpetrators of these horrific crimes against the Christians will be brought to justice.