Centre froze Missionaries of Charity's accounts: Oppn

Opposition alleges Centre froze bank accounts of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity; govt denies

The MHA said that the SBI has informed that MoC sent a request to the bank to freeze its accounts

Mamata Banerjee. Credit: PTI file photo

The licence of Missionaries of Charity (MoC) for receiving foreign funds was not renewed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) citing “adverse inputs”, an action taken on Christmas day that attracted criticism from various quarters though the organisation sought to play it down.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, CPI(M) West Bengal Secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and Trinamool Rajya Sabha floor leader Derek O’Brien were among those found fault with the Centre’s action, alleging that the Narendra Modi government has frozen the MoC’s accounts.

However, the MoC issued a statement in the evening clarifying that its FCRA registration has neither been suspended nor cancelled and that there was no freeze on its 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,” it said.

Referring to the MoC statement, O’Brien said, “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.”

On its part, the MHA issued a statement and said the State Bank of India (SBI) has informed that MoC itself sent a request to the bank to freeze its accounts.

According to the MHA, the renewal application under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, 2010 (FCRA) for the renewal of FCRA registration of Missionaries of Charity (MoC) was refused on December 25 “for not meeting the eligibility conditions” under relevant rules.

It said no request or revision application has been received from the MoC for review of this refusal of renewal.

The validity of MoC’s FCRA licence was valid up to October 31 and it was subsequently extended to December 31 along with other NGOs, whose renewal applications were pending.

“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 December 31,” the MHA said.

O’Brien tweeted, "after a filthy hit job on Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity on December 25, now MHA is doing what it does best: spin doctoring and a cover up. India has an Opposition that will fight the good fight. And I have a leader who will always stand up for the oppressed."

Banerjee was among the first to come out in support of the MoC and said this move has left Missionaries of Charity's 22,000 patients and employees without food and medicines. "While the law is paramount, humanitarian efforts must not be compromised," she said while CPI(M)’s Mishra also echoed her.

Fr Dominic Gomes, the Vicar General of Archdiocese of Calcutta, said the government agencies have given a cruel Christmas gift to the poorest of the poor.

"We condemn the government action against the MoC and are appalled by the timing and lack of empathy to consider the humanitarian disaster this decision will cause," he said.

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