JAIPUR: RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's comments on Mother Teresa Monday evoked controversy but the organisation denied he had criticised the Nobel laureate who spent her life in the service of the destitute.
Bhagwat, while addressing a function of a local NGO near Bharatpur, said Mother Teresa's service to the poor was aimed at converting them to Christianity.
"People like Mother Teresa did good work and service. But the aim was to convert the poor to Christianity. This kind of service is devalued if conversions are done in the name of service or work," he said.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal asked RSS to spare her from controversies saying she was a noble soul.
"I worked wid Mother Teresa for a few months at Nirmal Hriday ashram in Kolkata. She was a noble soul. Pl spare her," he tweeted.
I worked wid Mother Teresa for a few months at Nirmal Hriday ashram in Kolkata. She was a noble soul. Pl spare her.— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) February 24, 2015
Former chief minister Ashok Gehlot termed the statement "unfortunate".
"She left her country and spent her life to provide service to the poor. It is really a very unfortunate statement," he said.
Trinamool Congress spokesman Dere O'Brien condemned Bhagwat's remarks and said Mother Teresa is not about Christianity only but is a world figure loved by everyone.
"Since I am from Kolkata, so it makes it even more worse to hear what he said", he said.
State Congress president Sachin Pilot, while criticising the statement by Bhagwat, said: "By giving these kind of statements, they (the RSS) are trying to create a religious divide. Mother Teresa comes from which religion does not matter, what matters most is the service she provided to the poor."
Some Christian community leaders and NGOs in the state also flayed the statement.
However, the RSS said the statement was mis-attributed.
"Media reporting wrongly. At Bharatpur Ex DG BSF said that Mother Teresa did Seva with motive of conversion," said a tweet on RSS' official Twitter handle.
"In reply Bhagavatji said, 'let Mother Teresa know her motive for Seva, we do Seva without expecting any returns' Dr M Vaidya," said another tweet.
Media reporting wrongly. At Bharatpur Ex DG BSF said that Mother Teresa did Seva with motive of conversion.— RSS (@RSSorg) February 23, 2015
In reply Bhagavatji said, "let Mother Teresa know her motive for Seva, we do Seva without expecting any returns" Dr M Vaidya— RSS (@RSSorg) February 23, 2015