India’s government has blocked Mother Teresa’s charity from receiving foreign funds, saying the Catholic organisation did not meet conditions under local laws.
The Order of the Missionaries of Charity was founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa and is run by more than 5,000 religious sisters. The order cares for abandoned babies and operates schools, clinics and hospices.
The group’s application to renew its license to continue getting foreign funds under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act “was refused on 25 December 2021 for not meeting the eligibility conditions,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Indian government said it rejected the charity’s request to renew its licence to receive funds from donors based abroad because ‘adverse inputs’ had been discovered.
In the past, Hindu hardliners have accused the Missionaries of Charity of using its programmes to convert people to Christianity. The charity denies the allegations.
Christian leaders, including the All India Christian Council have condemned the decision to block the charity from receiving foreign funds and say it will leave it unable to buy food and medicines to help those in need.
In a statement, the Missionaries of Charity confirmed its renewal application had been denied, and that it would not operate any foreign funding accounts “until the matter is resolved”.
Mother Teresa, who died in 1997 at the age of 87 dedicated her life to caring for the destitute and dying in the slums of Kolkata.
She founded the Missionaries of Charity, to look after abandoned babies and to help the poorest of the poor, once saying that they “lived like animals but die like angels”.
In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize and in 2016 she was canonised as Saint Teresa of Kolkata.
Last year Amnesty International shut down its India operations after accusing the government of “constant harassment,” including freezing its bank accounts.
Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, tweeted to say that she was “shocked” the central government had blocked the group’s access to its bank accounts on Christmas day.
The charity runs hundreds of shelters that care for some of the world’s neediest people who Mother Teresa had described as “the poorest of the poor.”