Why the Missionaries of Charity Child Trafficking Scandal is a Wake-Up Call for India

Mother Teresa has been one of the most respected names in the world and more so in the Indian society. Many women around the globe, social activists and a few beauty pageant contestants have quoted her as a role model. But the recent scandal that Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity found itself engulfed in has triggered a nationwide debate.  For those uninitiated, two women affiliated with the Missionaries of Charity were arrested over the alleged sale of a baby and for basically running a child-trafficking racket. Out of the two women, one had been working at the Nirmal Hriday home (where the scandal occurred) in Ranchi and another one a Sister(Nun or Female Priest), who had also been sister-in-charge at the same home since June 2017.  Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata in 1950, and now has around 5,167 chapters around the world – 244 of which are in India alone. So, if there was ever a time when we Indians needed a wake-up call vis-a-vis the exploitation of innocent lives in the guise of religion (in this case Christianity), then this is it.

Mother Teresa has often been synonymous with kindness, charity and selflessness. However, some of the women who have been running her Missionaries of Charities, recently have been synonymous with the opposite – cruelty, malevolence and selfishness. The details of this shocking child racket are enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine, but we still need to highlight them to create more awareness. The home where this incident took place was housing 11 unwed mothers, who have now safely been taken under the custody of the CWC. In light of the scandal, India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development has directed all states to inspect all childcare homes that are being run by the Missionaries of Charity. In addition to this, the Jharkhand police have also requested the CBI to probe all foreign funds that have been received by the Missionaries of Charity, to make sure that this scandal doesn’t have its roots in any International organisations – a precautionary action that is absolutely warranted. This step taken by the Government has raised many eyebrows, especially from the Christian community questioning the Jharkhand Government. We had seen the incidence of a nun been raped 13 times by Bishop Mulakkal starting from 2014 at a guesthouse in Kuravilangad in Kottayam District when he was visiting a church-run orphanage.  Pastor Gideon Jacob, who ran a Christian-run orphanage, The Moses Ministries home in Tiruchy, run by Germany-based Christian Initiative for India since 1989 was arrested in Oct 2017 in Chennai in a similar incidence of Girl trafficking, it’s important to note that Jacob didn’t have a record of all the girls housed in there. Many such other incidents have also cropped up across India including Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and it is a matter of great concern.

Hence, The Christian community should see it as a wake-up call especially when the religious institutions and pastors, priest, nuns & sisters, have started exploiting the sentiments of gullible followers and believers and indulging in illegal acts like rapes, sex scandals, child and women trafficking. The incident in Missionaries of Charity surely highlights the fact that all such institutions need to be audited strictly to figure out their sources of funding, their modus operandi and their staff must be subjected to strict background verification.

It is pertinent to see how the hypocrisy of the media and liberals is on display here. Many are still highlighting how the Missionaries of Charity has been doing incredible work throughout these years and it is a one-off incidence that doesn’t warrant any attention. It is significant to note here that we had not seen the similar attention and strong words from the same section of media and selective outrage group, who had left no stones unturned when the culprits were Hindu Godmen or religious institutions.  It seems this incident has been deliberately shoved under the carpet by media and the so-called sections of society who have made it a habit to blame the right wing and Government of the day in case of any other such incidents.  It is harmful for the nation if such acts irrespective of religions and affiliations are not equally condemned.

Also, right on cue, the manufactured outrage from the Congress , TMC and other opposition parties was visible. I almost feel like the opposition is now not even pretending to hide their communal agenda for the 2019 general elections – massively indulge in minority appeasement to ensure they’re successfully able to convert specific religions into vote banks.

While the opposition may have made its peace with such a deplorable and toxic scandal, all because of its lust to come back to power, I believe most Indians think otherwise – and are more interested in combating (and preventing) such rackets from functioning in the future and destroying more innocent lives – whether a religion shrouds it or not.

About Vinit Goenka –

Former Co-Convenor of National Information Technology Cell – Bharatiya Janata Party