Sr. Mary Prema, superior of the Sisters of Mother Teresa, speaks out on child trafficking
The disappearance of a child who was sold has "nothing to do with the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity". The nuns are victims of "many myths [. . .] information distorted and false news” as well as “baseless innuendo". Sr Prema gives her version of events and defends her congregation. Only two weeks before, the authorities described the children’s home involved as an “excellent environment for the care of children”. Now they have been taken by social services.
Kolkata (AsiaNews) - The "sale" of a newborn by an employee of the nuns of Mother Teresa in Ranchi (Jharkhand) has led to the recent arrest of a nun and to an inquiry into all the homes where the Missionaries of Charity take care of the children. According to some observers, the case is being politically exploited.
In her first official statement, Sister Mary Prema, superior of the Missionaries of Charity, whilst expressing confidence in the law and in the courts, speaks out against "many myths [. . .] information distorted and false news” as well as “baseless innuendo" concerning the Sisters.
Sister Prema also noted a strange zeal on the part of some government offices, who praised the nuns’ work only a few weeks ago. She ends her statement with a prayer for all those affected by the case. The statement was released today by the Mother House in Kolkata.
We are deeply saddened and grieved by the recent developments at Missionaries of Charity Home - Nirmal Hriday at East Jail Road, Ranchi. Even while we place our full trust in the Judicial process that is underway, 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. 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.
Sr. Concelia MC was appointed as the sister-in-charge of the ‘unwed mothers’ section at Nirmal Hriday, East Jail Road, Ranchi on June 06, 2017. She was responsible for admission, hospitalization, counselling, record keeping, accompanying mothers and babies to CWC, when necessary and for discharge of the unwed mothers from the Home.
Mrs. 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. She learnt the work very well and ably assisted Sr. Concelia MC. Mrs. Anima Indwar thus, came to enjoy the trust of the Sisters at Nirmal Hriday. As and when Sr. Concelia MC got engaged in pressing responsibilities, Mrs. Anima Indwar would escort the unwed mothers, their babies and their guardians to Sadar Hospital, RIMS and CWC office as was required, by herself.
On June 29, 2018, at around 12.30 pm, the 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 containing information about the inmates at the Home. They seized the registers and records maintained by Nirmal Hriday without providing the receipt for such seizure to the Home.
From the records maintained for ‘unwed mothers’, the said officials particularly enquired about Ms. Karishma Toppo and her baby. Ms. Karishma Toppo had taken admission in Nirmal Hriday on March 19, 2018 and had delivered her baby on May 01, 2018. After her delivery, Ms. Karishma Toppo had declared in the Home’s register that she would surrender her child to CWC. 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 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.
On July 03, 2018, Mrs. Anima Indwar when summoned by CWC, admitted that Ms. Karishma Toppo’s child was not surrendered to CWC. Upon such admission, she was handed over to the police by CWC. Ms. Karishma Toppo’s child too was surrendered to CWC by Mrs. Anima Indwar and Ms. Karishma Toppo on the same day.
On July 04, 2018, Sr. Concelia MC and Sr. Marie Deanne MC, 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.
On the evening of July 04, 2018, 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.
For reasons unknown, our Shishu Bhawan Home at Hinoo was raided by CWC with a police force consisting about 7 members on July 06, 2018. 22 children lodged in the said Home were
carried away by CWC, which included a one-month old baby. One such baby took very ill in the custody of CWC and was admitted in the ICU at Rani Hospital. The records and registers of this Home too were carried away by the officials without providing the Home a receipt of such seizure. It is distressing that
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.
The Missionaries of Charity following the footsteps of our foundress St. Mother Teresa is caring for the poor, destitute and the afflicted since 1950. Today, there are 5,167 sisters, both active and contemplative, with 760 houses in 139 countries. The Missionaries of Charity have 244 houses in India including those in Jharkhand. Our works include running homes for leprosy patients, TB patients, AIDS patients, physically and mentally challenged children and adults, night shelters, indoor primary healthcare facilities, homes for women in distress, girls in danger, abandoned pregnant women, and for women whom poverty and starvation have driven into the streets.
The Congregation of Missionaries of Charity vows to continue their whole-hearted and free service to the poorest of the poor, by serving the needy and vulnerable even in the middle of the unprecedented and unfounded criticism that it faces today. We have full faith in the courts of law and the investigating authorities and are confident that justice shall prevail.
We pray for all those who have been hurt by the recent developments and we ask God to bless all those who are standing by us in these painful and difficult moments, and we lift up to God in prayer all people of goodwill.
May our Mother, St. Teresa of Calcutta intercede for us before our Almighty Father.
Sr. M. Prema MC