As the Vatican conferred sainthood on Mother Teresa, an organisation promoting scientific thinking on Sunday ridiculed Indian politicians for attending the canonisation ceremony that "promoted superstition" and asked them to distribute her pictures instead of opening hospitals.
The city-based Science and Rationalists’ Association of India (SRAI), on the day held a meet opposing Teresa’s canonisation at the Vatican City which was attended by host of leaders from across the globe including Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
"By attending the canonisation ceremony our leaders have certified that they believe in miracles and hocus-pocus. So now, instead of spending tax payers money on hospitals, the government should start distributing Teresa’s pictures for curing people," said SRAI general secretary Prabir Ghosh.
Ghosh was referring to claims that Monica Besra, a tribal woman from the state was "miraculously cured" of cancer in 1998 during prayers with some nuns of the Missionaries of Charity — the Mother’s order — on the occasion of the first anniversary of her death.
Besra has said in earlier interviews that she was so sick and could barely walk when she found herself before a photo of Mother Teresa. It was then that she saw a "blinding light". The nuns are then said to have pressed a religious medallion on her belly — and when she awoke a few hours later, she was cured.
Besra’s cure was subsequently recognised by the Vatican and Mother Teresa was beatified in 2003 as the "Blessed Teresa of Calcutta".
Despite Vatican’s acceptance of her cure as a miracle, many experts including Ghosh were sceptical and claimed Besra was cured by medical treatment. They have maintained that all she was suffering from was a cyst, not a tumour, and recovered after prolonged tuberculosis treatment.
"It would have been great if Teresa was declared a saint for her service to humanity. But the sainthood has been conferred because she performed miracles. This is nothing but criminal and our politicians have now become a part of that crime. It’s unfortunate and shameful," added Ghosh.