After reports of child trafficking from the Ranchi branch of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity emerged last month, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das had directed the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to investigate all such centres and shelter homes by August 15.
However, the Christian Missionaries alleged that they were being targeted in the name of inquiry prompting the Chief Minister to break his carefully maintained silence on the issue. He clarified that “no one’s being discriminated on the basis of religion”.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee and several Bishops accused Mr Das of a biased probe which led to the arrests of Sister Konsalia and an employee Anima Indwar. Sitaram Yechury of the rival CPM also found the allegations against the charity unbelievable.
The baby-selling racket at the Ranchi branch had triggered a state-wide crackdown on shelter homes, particularly those run by the Missionaries of Charity. The nun and another employee of the Nirmal Hriday, run by Mother Teresa’s charity, were arrested for allegedly selling infants for adoption.
The Jharkhand government went on an overdrive to probe the scandal and after criticism from the BJP’s political rivals stressed that it would not back down.
Talking to NDTV, Mr Das said, “Whether it’s a Hindu, Islamic or Christian organization, if it does wrong, it will be probed and punished. The law will take its own course.”
But when asked why the same commitment wasn’t shown in arresting those who thrashed Swami Agnivesh in Pakur last month, Mr Das failed to give a convincing answer.
The 80-year-old social activist was mercilessly beaten up by alleged workers of the BJP’s youth wing. After the attack, Mr Das had ordered an investigation and promised swift action in the case, but the police are yet to make any arrest.
Swami Agnivesh had said he had informed the administration about his arrival. But no policemen were deployed outside his hotel even after protesters had gathered and raised slogans against him.
Mr Das, however, denied that Swami Agnivesh informed either his office or the district administration about his visit.
The chief minister also downplayed the garlanding of convicts by Union minister Jayant Sinha and said we punished all those involved in lynching but “we don’t know under what circumstances Jayant Sinha did what he did.”
Jayant Sinha, who felicitated seven men convicted of killing a meat trader in the name of cow protection, however, apologised after his act was seen to support the cow vigilantes sentenced to life in jail for the murder.