India has reinstated permission for Mother Teresa’s charity in the country to receive foreign donations, after an initial decision to block its renewal around Christmas met international backlash.
The Missionaries of Charity was founded by Mother Teresa in 1950 in the Indian city of Kolkata to help the needy, and it currently operates nearly 250 homes for the indigent, orphans and AIDS patients in India.
All charities in India must be licensed to receive overseas donations under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), a law that UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has accused the government of Modi to have abused to “dissuade or punish the NGOs”.
India’s interior ministry has previously said it rejected the Missionaries of Charity’s license renewal application after the government received unspecified “adverse contributions” on the charity’s work. Some Christian organizations in India have come under attack in recent months by right-wing Hindu nationalists, accusing them of forcing people to convert.
The decision was heavily criticized by rights groups and opposition parties, and was also debated in the UK parliament where peers in the House of Lords inquired about what representations the UK government had made to its counterparts Indians on “blocking foreign funds for missionaries”. charity and other non-governmental organizations ”.
Opposition leader and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has criticized the government for the alleged “freezing” of the charity’s bank accounts, although the Home Office has denied the having done and declared that the NGO had itself requested the freezing of its accounts.
Derek O’Brien, a lawmaker from the opposition Congress Trinamool party, tweeted on Saturday that Missionaries of Charity was back on the Home Office’s list of approved organizations.
With the reinstatement of its FCRA license, the charity can once again receive foreign funds and can also spend the money in its bank accounts, an Interior Ministry official said on Saturday.
The Home Office said it reinstated the FCRA license after the NGO submitted additional unspecified documents to the relevant department.
Mother Teresa, who won the Nobel Prize in 1979, was named a saint by the Vatican in 2016, 19 years after her death.