New Delhi: Following the State Bank of India’s (SBI) decision to freeze the bank account of operated by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, the Home Ministry said that the government didn’t freeze the bank accounts.
The Home Ministry also claimed that the Kolkata-based organisation itself had written to the SBI asking for its accounts to be suspended.
The ministry said that on Christmas Day (December 25) it refused to renew the organisation’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) licence after being made aware of “adverse inputs”.
“In consideration of these inputs on record, the renewal application of Missionaries of Charity was not approved. The FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity was valid up to December 31, 2021,” said a statement from the ministry.
“MHA did not freeze any accounts of Missionaries of Charity. State Bank of India has informed that Missionaries of Charity itself sent a request to SBI to freeze its accounts,” clarified the statement.
However, the Missionaries of Charity officials refused to offer any comment on the matter.
Earlier on Monday, controversy (and confusion) erupted after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed shock at reports that the Centre had frozen the bank accounts of the Missionaries of Charity.
“Shocked to hear that on Christmas, Union Ministry FROZE ALL BANK ACCOUNTS of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity! 22,000 patients and employees have been left without food and medicines. While the law is paramount, humanitarian efforts must not be compromised,” Banerjee tweeted.
The Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Calcutta, Father Dominic Gomes, hit out at what he called a “dastardly attack on the Christian community”.
“In freezing the bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity… government agencies have given a cruel Christmas gift to the poorest of the poor… Missionaries of Charity Sisters and Brothers are often the only friends of lepers and social outcasts no one will even venture near… this latest attack on the Christian community and their social outreach is even more a dastardly attack on the poorest of India’s poor. We condemn the government action,” said the Father’s statement.
Mother Teresa had passed away in September 1997. The Nobel laureate was accorded a state funeral for her relentless service to the poor, irrespective of caste and creed. she was elevated to sainthood by Pope Francis in September 2016.
It may be recalled that Indian police started investigating the charity started by Mother Teresa.
Authorities in the western state of Gujarat’s Vadodara city was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera that they were probing whether the Missionaries of Charity forced girls in its shelter home there to read the Bible and wear a cross.