Sister Kaushalya, head of the Nirmal Hriday orphanage, is accused of buying and selling children as slaves. Another nun is under investigation. At least 16 girls were moved to a state facility. Missionaries of Charity react saying, “We will take all necessary precautions so that it never happens again."
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Police in Ranchi, in the Indian state of Jharkhand, arrested a Missionary of Charity on charges of participating in the sale of children from an orphanage run by the nuns of Mother Teresa, Kotwal police station told AsiaNews. The latter is responsible for the ongoing investigation into the affair.
Nirmal Hriday (House of the pure heart) took in children with mental disabilities and young women who were poor and pregnant, offering them a safe place to deliver their children.
Local police chief S.N. Madal said that Sister Kaushalya, head of the facility, confessed that at least four newborns from the institute were sold. He noted that the nun was “arrested for complicity".
Now she will have to respond to the charge of buying and disposing of a person as a slave under Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code. Together with Anima Indwar, an employee of the institute jailed last Tuesday, the nun is also blamed for violating articles 80, 81 and 84 of the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Act of 2015.
Sr Meridian, the second nun arrested by police, is instead "still under investigation. It's almost impossible that she was not aware of the racket, but we need more evidence. "
The case came to light during an inspection by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Ranchi.
According to a report published by The Indian Express newspaper, the three women took newborns from single mothers and then sold them to couples.
A couple from Uttar Pradesh confirmed they paid 120,000 rupees (about US$ 1,745) for a two-week-old baby.
Meanwhile, the CWC said it moved the 16 girls from the facility to a state shelter in Namkum. Then it will have to decide where to place 70 more people, before sealing the house of the sisters of Mother Teresa.
“We also want to shift out 22 girls from Shishu Bhavan, another Missionaries of Charity-run shelter in Hinoo. We fear the children are not safe there too," said CWC head Rupa Verma.
Meanwhile, Sister Mary Prema, superior of the Missionaries of Charity, issued a statement on the matter.
"We are completely shocked by what has happened in our home,” the note said. “This should not have happened. It is completely against our moral convictions. We are carefully looking into this matter. We will take all necessary precautions so that it never happens again."