Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has called the human trafficking charges against Missionaries of Charity an attempt to malign the name of Mother Teresa. And she has blamed the BJP for it. The Catholic church, too, has vehemently criticised the police crackdown on the organisation, undertaken after orders from Jharkhand’s BJP Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
The Missionaries of Charity has its headquarters in Kolkata, a city where Mother Terasa’s footprint is writ large. The Albanian missionary, who was canonised two years ago, has lived a large part of her life in Kolkata, and died there more than a decade ago.
As the controversy over baby trafficking, allegedly by a nun and an employee of the Jharkhand unit of Missionaries of Charity grew, the Bengal Chief Minister today tweeted:
Ms Banerjee finds herself in unusual company on this issue.
Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said, “We have the highest of respect and this kind of thing is unbelievable… these allegations. If the state agencies feel, let there be investigations. But they cannot be harassed. They cannot be persecuted in this manner.”
Sister Konsalia and Anima Indwar, an employee of the Nirmal Hriday, run by the Missionaries of Charity, were arrested last week for allegedly selling infants for adoption.
The police said they have come across four instances where infants were sold for about Rs. 1.2 lakh each. The police said three of the missing babies have been recovered and they have confessed to the crime.
Jharkhand’s senior police officer Mr RK Mallik told NDTV that there is “sufficient evidence” to prove prima facie that there is “violation of Section 80/81 of Juvenile Justice Act, which is a cognizable, non-bailable offence and police is just following the Act”.
A senior church official, Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi, told NDTV yesterday that the nun allegedly involved was forced to sign a confession.
The police, he said, was treating the whole organisation as a criminal gang, sending 30 to 40 police men at each house, leaving the nuns extremely disturbed.
“These are very simple nuns. They don’t want to face press, police,” he said.