The Indian government has ordered the inspection of all the orphanages and children’s care homes run by the order founded by Mother Teresa, after a nun was arrested on charges of trafficking in newborn babies.
In a statement released recently, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said that all state governments have been asked “to get child care homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately.”
Early this month, police in Ranchi (Jharkhand) arrested Sister Koshleniea, who ran a children’s home, and an employee of the facility, Anima Indwar, who “sold” a newborn to a family in Uttar Pradesh for 120,000 rupees (US$ 1,750).
Minister Maneka Gandhi’s move appears to be an attempt to stop child trafficking and illegal adoptions that see more than 100,000 children disappear in India. Gandhi also asked that all childcare institutions should register and be linked to a central office for adoption within a month. According to government figures, 2,300 institutions have already registered with another 4,000 still pending.
Sister Mary Prema, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, has already stated that the congregation would investigate something that “goes against our moral convictions,” and that they would take steps to prevent anything like this happening in the future.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, however, expressed doubts about the case involving the Sisters of Mother Teresa in Jharkhand, that it is being purposefully blown out or proportion by “some people” trying to frame the organisation founded by Mother Teresa. West Bengal Chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, who is great admirer of the saint of Calcutta, spoke in defence of the order founded by Mother Teresa.