A police probe has been initiated into a Catholic-run orphanage in Sagar Diocese in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh following allegations that its inmates were given beef and taught the Bible, among other charges.
Church leaders denied the charges and said they were part of a well-orchestrated malicious campaign to defame the Church, especially by those who have an eye on the orphanage’s land.
This is the third such incident targeting a Catholic-run institution in the diocese within a month. A joint team of police and district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members visited St. Francis Orphanage in Shampura in Sagar district on Dec. 6 following a complaint that the orphanage authorities had supplied beef to the inmates and tried to teach the Bible, among other charges.
“The team interacted with students and took statements of five boys and five girls and also those of officials,” orphanage director Father Sinto Varghese told on Dec. 9.
“The following day another team of CWC members, mostly women, visited the orphanage and took statements from all the girls.” The orphanage is home to 44 children – 21 girls and 23 boys – aged up to 19.
“Local police, judges and CWC members regularly visit it and inspect its running as per the government guidelines and we do not know suddenly where the cow meat and other charges came from,” Father Varghese said.
“Where will we get cow meat?” asked the priest as cow slaughter and consumption of beef are prohibited in the state. “We provide chicken as per the government food menu and those who don’t eat meat are given vegetables and other stuff they require.”