The Centre’s Narendra Modi government rejected the renewal application of Missionaries of Charity’s registration under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) citing ‘adverse inputs.’ The government has not specified what those ‘adverse inputs’ were. The clarification by ministry of home affairs headed by Amit Shah came soon after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that the central government had frozen the funds of Mother Teresa’s charity on Christmas Day.
A statement from the MHA said, “The renewal application under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) for the renewal of FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity (MoC) was refused on 25 Dec 2021 for not meeting the eligibility conditions under FCRA 2010 and Foreign Contribution Regulation Rules (FCRR) 2011. No request / revision application has been received from Missionaries of Charity (MoC) for review of this refusal of renewal.”
It added, “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 FCRA registration of MoC was valid up-to 31st December 2021. MHA did not freeze any accounts of MoC. State Bank of India has informed that MoC itself sent a request to SBI to freeze its accounts.”
Mamata Banerjee had earlier tweeted, “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.”
Vicar General of Archdiocese of Calcutta, Father Dominic Gomes, too had tweeted, “In freezing the bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity Sisters and Brothers congregations, Government agencies have given a cruel Christmas gift to the poorest of the poor.”
Meanwhile, a statement from the Missionaries of Charities denied reports of its bank accounts. It said, “We appreciate the concern of our well-wishers and extend our heartiest greetings for Christmas and the New Year. We would like to clarify that the FCRA registration of the Missionaries of Charity has been neither suspended nor cancelled.”
It added, “Further, there is no freeze ordered by the Ministry of Home Affairs on any of our bank accounts. We have been informed that our FCRA renewal application has not been approved. Therefore, as a measure to ensure there is no lapse, we have asked our centres not to operate any of the FC accounts until the matter is resolved.”
However, Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien said that the central government had pressurised the charity to issue this statement. He tweeted, “First the Government of India INTIMIDATES. For weeks, right through to December 25. And then they pile on the pressure to extract this. Shame on the MHA and its shameless damage control tactics.”