Mother Teresa Charity Investigated for "Forced Conversions"

By Abdulla Gaafarelkhalifa

On December 14th, local Indian police in Vadodara City began investigating accusations of forced conversion by the Makarpura facility for Missionaries of Charity (MOC), the charity famously started by Mother Teresa in 1950. The charity was started in Vadodara, in the Makarpura area of the state of Gujarat, which is also the home state of the Hindu Nationalist Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The investigations were based on a complaint by Vadodara District Social Defense Officer, Mayank Trivedi, after visiting the facility run by MOC in Vadodara. According to Trivedi, his complaint was based on reports from child welfare authorities and other district officials.

According to the First Information Report (FIR) by the Vadodara City Law Enforcement, “The institution has been involved in activities to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus intentionally and with bitterness… The girls inside the Home for Girls are being lured to adopt Christianity by making them wear the cross around their neck and also placing the Bible on the table of the storeroom used by the girls, in order to compel them to read the Bible… It is an attempted crime to force religious conversion upon the girls.”

As dramatic as the ending to that FIR is, it's not entirely wrong. The Makarpura MOC has been booked under section 295-A for deliberate and malicious acts to enrage sentiments of any class by insulting their religious beliefs, and section 298 for uttering words to wound the religious beliefs of an individual, and the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act of 2003 which nortabley bans forcible conversion.

This investigation comes at a time where stories of anti-Christian violence have been increasing in India. Earlier this month, a mob of militant right-wing Hindu groups attacked a Catholic school in Ganj Basoda, India. Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj Bommai, hinted at the idea of banning conversion during a political assembly.

In 2020, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom listed India as a “country of particular concern” for the first time since 2004.

Aljazeera cited activists who say there have been more than 300 anti-Christian incidents in 2021 alone.

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