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Indian govt restores foreign funding permit for Mother Teresa’s charity

The Charity runs kitchens, schools and hospices across India. (Source: AP)

NEW DELHI: The Indian government on Saturday allowed late Catholic nun Mother Teresa’s charity to receive foreign funds, weeks after it refused to renew its licence, the organisation said.

On Christmas Day, the Narendra Modi-led government moved to cut off foreign funding to the Missionaries of Charity and refused to renew its licence under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

Charities and non-profit firms need to register under FCRA to receive money from abroad. Hindu hardliners have long accused the charity of using its programmes to convert people to Christianity. The charity has denied these allegations.

“The FCRA application has now been renewed,” Sunita Kumar, a close aide to Mother Teresa, told international news agency AFP. Its reinstatement was also tweeted by Derek O’Brien, a lawmaker from the opposition Trinamool Congress party.

 

The Indian government is yet to comment, but state-run ANI news agency said the licence was restored after “necessary documents were submitted to concerned department”.

The Missionaries of Charity, which runs shelter homes across India, was founded in 1950 by the late Mother Teresa, a Catholic nun who devoted most of her life to helping the poor in the eastern city of Kolkata. She won the Nobel Peace Prize and was later declared a saint.

The majority of India’s population are Hindu. But there are around 24 million Christians in the country – around 2% of the population – and it is home to the second-largest Catholic community in Asia, behind the Philippines.

India’s home ministry issued a statement in December saying it was rejecting the renewal application because the charity did not meet “eligibility conditions” and that “adverse inputs were noticed”.

Last week, Oxfam India said the Indian government had blocked its access to international funds, a move which it said would have severe consequences for its humanitarian work.

The Modi government has been accused of cutting off access to funding of charities and rights groups in the country. Amnesty International announced in 2020 that it was halting operations in India after the government froze its bank accounts.

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