Wednesday 13 December 2017

Outrage in India as Mother Teresa accused of only helping the poor 'to convert them to Christianity'

Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa

Adam Withnall

A right-wing volunteering organisation in India has accused Mother Teresa of only aiding the poor in order to “convert those she served to Christianity”.

Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has sparked controversy in India just one week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued a call for greater harmony and “complete freedom of faith” across the country.

Filmed while inaugurating an orphanage and women’s home in the state of Rajasthan, Bhagwat was quoted by a number of media outlets as saying that the facility would “not provide a service like that rendered by Mother Teresa”.

“Mother Teresa's service might have been good,” he said. “But there was a motive behind it – to convert the person being served to Christianity."

The comments have provoked an angry reaction from local politicians and activists alike.

Sunita Kumar, a spokesperson for India’s Missionaries of Charity (MOC), said she had worked personally with Mother Teresa and that : “In my 50 years with MOC and during that time, I have not seen a single case where people were asked to convert to Christianity.

“Even now, at Mother House on special occasions, mass prayers are organised and people of all religions participate and offer prayers according to their religion.”

Rajasthan congressman Sachin Pilot said the comments were a "deliberate attempt to whip up negative emotions and distort history”.

But speaking for Modi’s ruling BJP party, national spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi appeared to try to justify Bhagwat’s comments.

“Mother Teresa herself said that 'a lot of people confuse me as social worker, I am not a social worker. I am in the service of Jesus and my job is to spread the word of Christianity and bring people to its fold'," she said.

Independent News Service

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