Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MC), which is in the eye of a storm for alleged child trafficking in one of its homes, has responded to what it called myths, distorted information, false news and baseless innuendos. Stating that they were deeply saddened and aggrieved by the recent developments at the Missionaries of Charity Home, Nirmal Hriday, on East Jail Road in Jharkhand capital Ranchi, Sister M Prema, the Missionaries of Charity Superior General in Kolkata, said they placed their full trust in the judicial process that was under way.
“…We wish to express regret and sorrow for what happened and desire to express in unequivocal terms our condemnation of individual actions, which have nothing to do with the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity,” she said in a statement issued in Kolkata.
“We are fully cooperating with the investigations and are open to any free, fair and just inquiry. In this context, especially in view of many myths being spread, information distorted and false news being diffused and baseless innuendos being thrown about regarding the Mother Teresa Sisters, it is expedient to lay down the turn of events as they actually transpired,” she said.
According to her, Sr Concelia was appointed as the sister-in-charge of the ‘unwed mothers’ section at Nirmal Hriday in Ranchi on 6 June, 2017.
She was responsible for admission, hospitalisation, counseling,
record keeping, accompanying mothers and babies to CWC, when necessary and for discharge of the unwed mothers from the Home.
“Anima Indwar began working at Nirmal Hriday from January 2012. Initially, she worked as a ward helper and then as a staff member to care for the unwed mothers,” the statement said, adding that as and when Sr Concelia got engaged in pressing responsibilities, Mrs Indwar would escort the unwed mothers, their babies and their guardians to Sadar Hospital, RIMS and CWC office as was required, by herself.
“On 29 June, 2018, at around 12.30 p.m., child protection officer, Ms Seema and other social welfare officers, about five of them, came to Nirmal Hriday. They called for the admission and attendance registers…They seized the registers and records without providing the receipt for such seizure to the Home,” the statement said.
From the records maintained for ‘unwed mothers’, the said officials particularly enquired about Ms Karishma Toppo and her baby. Ms Toppo had taken admission in Nirmal Hriday on 19 March and had delivered her baby on 1 May. After her delivery, she had declared in the Home’s register that she would surrender her child to the CWC, according to Sr Prema.
“Mrs Anima Indwar, Ms Karishma Toppo and her guardian thus, took the baby from Nirmal Hriday to surrender the child. Neither Nirmal Hriday nor the Sisters had any way to ascertain whether the child was actually surrendered to the CWC. This is so because CWC, as matter of practice, did not give any acknowledgement to the Home after obtaining custody of a child from an unwed mother,” she added.
According to the statement, on 3 July, Mrs Indwar, when summoned by the CWC, admitted that Ms Toppo’s child was not surrendered to the CWC. Upon such admission, she was handed over to the police by the CWC. Ms Toppo’s child too was surrendered to the CWC by Mrs Indwar and Ms Toppo on the same day, it added.
“On 4 July, Sr Concelia MC and Sr Marie Deanne MC, the Superior of Nirmal Hriday, were also questioned by the police. Sr. Concelia was arrested by the police while Sr. Marie Deanne MC after being kept in police custody till 7 pm the next day, was finally let off,” it said.
“On the evening of 4 July, the CWC, along with child protection officer Ms Seema, without serving any notice to Nirmal Hriday, carried away the 11 unwed mothers, one unwed mother along with her baby and one guardian from the Home. The said women were subjected to utmost humiliation and public embarrassment by the officials as they were carried in full view of the media,” Sr Prema said.
“For reasons unknown, our Shishu Bhawan Home at Hinoo was raided by the CWC and the police on 6 July. 22 children lodged in the Home were carried away by the CWC, which included a one-month- old baby,” she added.
“It is distressing that the CWC has meted out such treatment to a Home which its officials themselves had described as having an ‘excellent environment for the care of children’ only about two weeks before,” Sr Prema lamented.
“The Missionaries of Charity following the footsteps of our foundress St. Mother Teresa is caring for the poor, destitute and the afflicted since 1950. “We have full faith in the courts of law and the investigating authorities and are confident that justice shall prevail,” said the statement.