West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged the Union government had frozen all bank accounts of the organisation founded by Mother Teresa.

Nuns of Missionaries of Charity walking in robes, picture taken from left sideFile photo
news Controversy Tuesday, December 28, 2021 - 10:28

The Missionaries of Charity on Monday, December 27, said it had asked its centres not to operate any foreign currency account till the issue of renewal of the organisation's Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) registration was resolved. The clarification came after the Ministry of Home Affairs said earlier in the day that the Missionaries of Charity's application for renewal of the FCRA registration was refused on December 25 for not meeting eligibility conditions, as some adverse inputs were received.

However, the statement signed by Sister M Prema, Superior General of the famed missionary body set up by Saint Teresa of Calcutta, did not clarify whether it had asked State Bank of India to freeze its accounts, as claimed by the MHA. 

The ministry said SBI had informed that the organisation itself sent a request to the bank to freeze its accounts. MHA said that the renewal was refused on December 25 for not meeting eligibility conditions as some adverse inputs were received. "No request or revision application has been received from Missionaries of Charity for review of this refusal of renewal," the statement said.

"We would like to clarify that the FCRA registration of the Missionaries of Charity has been neither suspended nor cancelled. There is no freeze order by the MHA on any of our bank accounts. We have been informed that our FCRA renewal has not been approved. As a measure to ensure there is no lapse, we have asked our Union governments not to operate any of the FC accounts until the matter is resolved, the Missionaries of Charity statement said.

The MHA statement came hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged the Union government had frozen all bank accounts of the organisation founded by Mother Teresa.

"Shocked to hear that on Christmas, Union Ministry FROZE ALL BANK ACCOUNTS of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in India! Their 22,000 patients & employees have been left without food & medicines. While the law is paramount, humanitarian efforts must not be compromised," Banerjee tweeted.

The MHA said the application for the renewal of FCRA registration of MoC was refused on December 25 for not meeting the eligibility conditions under the FCRA 2010 and the Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR) 2011.

"No request or revision application has been received from Missionaries of Charity for review of this refusal of renewal," the statement said.

The Missionaries of Charity's registration under the FCRA was valid up to October 31, 2021. The MHA said the validity was subsequently extended up to December 31, 2021 along with other FCRA associations whose renewal application were pending renewal.

"However, while considering the MoC's renewal application, some adverse inputs were noticed. In consideration of these inputs on record, the renewal application of MoC was not approved," the statement said.

The FCRA registration of MoC was valid up to December 31, 2021 and the MHA did not freeze any account of the MoC. The State Bank of India has informed that MoC itself sent a request to SBI to freeze its accounts," the statement said.

In a statement, the MHA also said that it did not freeze any account of the Missionaries of Charity but State Bank of India has informed that the organisation itself sent a request to the bank to freeze its accounts.

The MHA statement came hours after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed the Union government had frozen all bank accounts of the organisation founded by Mother Teresa.

"Shocked to hear that on Christmas, Union Ministry FROZE ALL BANK ACCOUNTS of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity in India! Their 22,000 patients & employees have been left without food & medicines. While the law is paramount, humanitarian efforts must not be compromised," Banerjee tweeted.

The Opposition also slammed the government.

Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Anand Sharma expressed shock at the Union government's action. "This is indeed shocking. When Mother Teresa wins a Nobel Prize, India rejoices. When her organisation serves the poor and destitute, the government cuts off their funding. Disgraceful," Tharoor wrote on Twitter.

Sharma demanded the prime minister's intervention in the matter and an immediate reversal of the decision."Shocked at the Government's action of freezing the accounts of Missionaries of Charity. Condemning the cruel, insensitive and inhuman decision which will hurt the ailing and suffering poor the most," he wrote on the microblogging website.

Rajya Sabha MP of the Trinamool Congress Derek O'Brien accused the Union government of carrying out a "hit job" on the Missionaries of Charity and resorting to "spin doctoring and a cover-up". He also accused the Union government of "intimidating" the organisation and "piling pressure to extract" a statement from it on the issue.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, then known as Mother Teresa started the Missionaries of Charity with just about 10 members in October 1950. The Mother and her organisation which ran orphanages, homes for the dying and lepers, shot into prominence after she won the Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize in 1962 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. This year it completed 71 years of work in India. Mother Teresa's work, which hit news headlines and won international recognition, was funded by foreign and Indian donors. However the non-renewal of FCRA registration means that the donations the Missionaries used to receive from abroad to carry on its charitable work will not be permitted to be transferred. 

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