Trinamool to take Mother Teresa charity’s FCRA rejection to Goa poll field

The TMC, which declared a tooth-and-nail battle against the BJP in the upcoming Goa elections, said the party would not miss this opportunity.

Published: 29th December 2021 03:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th December 2021 08:37 AM   |  A+A-

Nuns of Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Saint Teresa, distribute food to the poor and needy its headquarter in Kolkata. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

KOLKATA:  The Centre’s decision of rejecting the Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity’s renewal application required for receiving foreign contributions has not only drawn flak overseas, but also handed West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress an issue to utilise in the Goa Assembly elections in which Christians have a significant role.

The TMC, which declared a tooth-and-nail battle against the BJP in the upcoming Goa elections, said the party would not miss this opportunity.

“The recent attacks on Christians and rejection of Missionaries of Charity’s renewal application will be one of our tools against the BJP in Goa. In the coastal state, Christians comprise more than 25 per cent of the population,” said a senior TMC leader in Kolkata.

TMC sources said the party is trying to consolidate Christian voters in its favour.

Last week, former Goa MLA Lavoo Mamledar resigned from the party along with four others, alleging the TMC was trying “to divide Goans on religious lines”.

Mamledar, who was earlier with the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, had joined the TMC three months ago.

The Centre rejected the Missionaries of Charity’s renewal application for registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010, after it noticed “some adverse inputs”.

The rejection came after a series of incidents of attacks on Christians.  

Referring to recent attacks on Christians, The Guardian reported that the rejection of the Missionaries of Charity’s application comes less than two weeks after Hindu hardliners accused the charity of carrying out forced conversions of Hindus to Christianity in a home for girls in Vadodara, Gujarat. 

Vatican News wrote the decision “has triggered reactions of concern at a time in which the ruling BJP party is accused of promoting hate attacks on religious minorities”.

The Washington Times wrote the ‘block’ on receiving foreign contributions is a blow to one of the most prominent groups running shelters for the poor.

‘Attack on minorities by BJP government’

Congress has said Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity are the latest victims of the BJP government’s vicious, vengeful and hate-driven agenda against minorities.

“Haridwar to Kolkata — BJP & its hate mongers are creating fake bogies of communalism. This is an affront to India’s constitutionalism,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala.

"The doors of the Mother House are open to all," said a nun nonchalantly as she went about doing her work.

Money, apparently, doesn't matter in a place where service is not a dogma but a way of life.

At Mother House, the abode of Saint Teresa, it was work as usual on Tuesday as the nuns went about attending to the destitute, the wayward alcoholic, and the leper, with crumbling maggot-filled limbs.

They strutted about, giving painkillers to those dying at its hospice, counselling alcoholics about how life could change for the better, and telling lepers their disfigured limbs were still lovable.

All that a day after it became public knowledge that the government has choked foreign funding to the 'Missionaries of Charity', the organisation founded by Mother Teresa, a tiny, hunchbacked Albanian, who made Kolkata her home, loving and living for people who she did not even know.

"The nuns should be allowed to do their work," says Bhola Hossain Mollah from Boral village in South 24 Parganas district.

The Mother House, which Teresa set up in 1953 on Acharya Jagdish Chandra Road, is now a pilgrimage for all humanity "The Saint of the Gutters" caressed.

The unassuming Mother House is a working mission where the poor, the ailing and the dying are looked after by a band of selfless followers of Teresa.

It also has a small museum and Mother Teresa's tomb, exemplifying motherhood that cares for the most hapless of its children.

"I was rescued by the Mothers (nuns) of this home while I lay on the footpath with serious foot injury. They treated me for free. I get food from them thrice a day as I recuperate," said Mollah.

The 40-year-old destitute man said, "I don't know about their source of funds and I don't want to. All I wish is they should be allowed to do their work."

Life never changes its course at Mother House.

The hospice disgorges the dead, the lepers, untouched by disdainful gaze, smile their best smiles, and the nuns scurry about doing their chores.

"The doors of the Mother House are open to all and all our daily activities are continuing.

They will with the support of you all," an elderly Sister told a PTI journalist, blessing him but refusing to say more.

The lane adjacent to the white building with blue streaks, in the colours of the sari which most Nuns wear, was quiet and forlorn with only a handful of visitors.

Michael, the leader of a 10-member group of visitors from Mumbai that included children, was unaware about the controversy over the central government refusing to renew the license granted to the Missionaries of Charity under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

"We prayed inside, we were blessed by the nuns present, we offered tribute at the tomb. Things were the same as three years back when I had visited the place for the first time. It is serene, quiet and divine," he said.

"We believe the Missionaries of Charity cannot do anything wrong. They are serving the poor, the people. They should be allowed to do their work. If there are any problems with foreign funding, that should be addressed for the benefit of poor," said a woman member of the team.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had on Monday said the Missionaries of Charity's application for renewal of FCRA registration was refused on December 25 for not meeting eligibility conditions, as some adverse inputs were received.

As the wheel of life moves on inexorably, churning out tragedies for humankind in the wake, the house on Acharya Jagdish Chandra Road stands like a beacon of hope.

The "Saint of the Gutters" lives on through her children at 'Mother House', where milk of human kindness flows boundless even when money may not, said a nun before vanishing into one of the rooms where the sick and the dying get a reason to smile.

(With PTI Inputs)


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