West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, tweeted claiming that the Centre had frozen all bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity in India. Expressing concern, she said that the organisation associated with Mother Teresa was “penniless”, and that “22,000 patients & employees have been left without food & medicines”. However, the central government issued a clarification through a PIB press release saying the Ministry of Home Affairs did not freeze bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity rather the application for renewal of FCRA registration was rejected due to some ‘adverse inputs.’
CPI(M) leader Surjya Kanta Mishra also tweeted, “Yesterday, Christmas Day the Union Ministry FROZE ALL BANK ACCOUNTS of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. The Govt has frozen all the accounts in India, including cash in hand. Their 22,000 patients, including employees, are left without food and medicines.”
The contentious claim by Banerjee comes amid reports of Christmas celebrations being disrupted by ring-wing groups and attacks on Christians in India. According to a report by NDTV, men claiming to belong to Bajrang Dal barged into a church in Assam’s Silchar during Christmas celebrations and demanded it be shut down because ‘Hindus could not take part in the festivities.’ ‘The attackers – who claimed to be from the Bajrang Dal – said they would not allow Hindus to celebrate Christmas because December 25 was also Tulsi Diwas,’ said the report.
According to a report by Outlook, a group of men claiming to be from a right-wing group barged into the premises of a church in Haryana’s Pataudi and disrupted prayers on Christmas eve. In another incident in Haryana, two men allegedly desecrated and vandalised a statue of Jesus Christ at the historical Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Ambala Cantonment on intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, reported Hindustan Times.
The News Minute reported that members of a Hindutva organisation barged into Nirmala English High School and College in Karnataka’s Mandya district and disrupted the Christmas celebration on December 23. According to a report published by NDTV, dated December 12, a group of right-wingers burnt the religious books of Christians in Karnataka’s Kolar alleging conversion by the church.
To ascertain the veracity of the claim made by Mamata Banerjee, Newschecker conducted a keyword search of the words ‘Missionaries of Charity’ and ‘bank account frozen’ which led us to a press release by the PIB, dated December 28, that clarified that the Home Ministry did not freeze bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity. It added that the State Bank of India has informed that Missionaries of Charity itself sent a request to SBI to freeze its accounts.
As per the release, “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.”
A report by India Today quoted Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity as saying, “We have not been told anything regarding this. I am not aware of this at all. The Government of India has not told us anything. Bank transactions are working fine. Everything is fine.”
A notice by Missionaries of Charity that was shared by prominent journalists on Twitter. The notice stated, “We would like to clarify that the FCRA registration of the Missionaries of Charity has neither been suspended or canceled. Further, there is no freeze ordered by the Ministry of Home Affairs on any of our bank accounts.”
The claim made by West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee regarding the freezing of all bank accounts of Missionaries of Charity by the central government is misleading. MOC’s bank accounts have not been frozen by the MHA, rather their application for renewal of FCRA registration was refused due to ‘adverse inputs.’
NDTV: https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/let-christians-celebrate-christmas-in-assam-church-disrupted-2671906; https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/in-karnataka-right-wing-activists-set-christian-religious-books-on-fire-2647730
Official Twitter Accounts of Mamata Banerjee, Shashi Tharoor, Surjya Kanta Mishra, Shiv Aroor, Indrajit
(This article was originally published in Newschecker Bangla)
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