The month of July did not start well for the Mother Teressa’s Missionioneries Of Charity. Skeletons hiding in their closets for quite some time now have started to tumble out, bringing in tribulation within the institution. The Missionaries of Charity, all this while savouring notoriety has suddenly been put under the scanner. Earlier this month Jharkhand police arrested a woman and detained two nuns of ‘Missionaries of Charity’ running ‘Nirmal Hriday’ – a shelter home for destitute women, a trust founded by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa, for allegedly selling the infants born to unwed mothers at the institution.
It was found during the course of the investigation that they were selling off babies from unwed mothers at Rs 50,000 to 1.5 lakh. At least four children have been illegally sold by them.
As this news started surfacing and the media started digging further, horrifying revelations started emerging. Disclosures were made that the Missionaries of charity which was facing the charges of child trafficking, has not been able to provide records of birth by over 280 women at its various homes. According to police sources, 450 pregnant women were admitted to the various home between 2015 to 2018, but there are records of only 170 childbirths and no information about the remaining 280.
As the controversy unfolded, many politicians started coming in the forefront, grabbing on the opportunity to play murky politics. None other than Mamta Banerjee, who can, probably after foreseeing that soon BJP might be successful in saffronizing Bengal, and fearing people to vote her out soon, most proficiently turn every incident into an ‘anti-Modi’, ‘anti-BJP’ campaign, accused the BJP of targeting the Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity (MoC) and maligning it.
Surprisingly though, with evidence surfacing, West Bengal chief minister, Mamta Banerjee today tweeted showing her sympathy and trust in the missionary saying that the government was targeting the sisters of the institution.
Mother Teresa herself set up Missionaries of Charity. And now they are also not being spared. Malicious attempts to malign their name. The Sisters are being targeted. #BJP want to spare no one. Highly condemnable. Let MOC continue to do their work for the poorest of the poor
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 12, 2018
Later when reporters asked her to comment about the allegations against Missionaries of Charity, Banerjee said, “If any individual committed some mistake you can take action, but you (BJP) cannot say Missionaries of Charity is bad.”
India today, tried throwing further light in the process of investigation, by releasing a video, which shows that the missionaries asked the pregnant women coming to them sign an undertaking and were made to surrender the rights on their children.
— India Today (@IndiaToday) July 12, 2018
As reported by India Today, the welfare department of Jharkhand specified that though these shelter homes were authorized to carry out the adoption process since decades, there were several discrepancies which came into limelight as the investigations unfolded. Few being:
- These adoption processes which were being carried out were being done without the welfare department and the State government being kept in the loop.
- Who were the guardians of the underaged pregnant girls who were given shelter by these shelter houses?
- Many of them being ill-literate, how were they asked to give these undertakings, without being able to read and understand the documents.
- Records of the pregnant women and child born to them were not being maintained properly.
- Children were sold in exchange for money and for monetary benefits.
The horror unfolding at Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity is sordid. Babies born to unwed mothers sold to the highest bidder. Investigations are being carried out, and the perpetrators would hopefully be penalized, but what is saddening is that these shelter homes, for decades being hailed for its good work, has been involved in these horrifying activities under a veil of benevolence.