For the first time since a nun was arrested in Jharkhand's capital Ranchi 13 days ago for allegedly selling an infant, the Superior General of the Missionaries of Charity has spoken out, expressing "regret, sorrow and condemnation of individual actions" that she spelt out have, however, no links to the Missionaries of Charity.
In a three page statement, Sister Prema pointed fingers at the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Ranchi which she claimed had made a "practice" of not giving an "acknowledgement" when it received infants for adoption.
That loophole, she suggested, was used by the helper at the Missionaries' home for unwed mothers in Ranchi called Nirmal Hriday. The help exploited the lacunae to sell an infant born on May 1, 2018 to an unwed mother at Nirmal Hriday.
Sister Prema, however, offered no explanation for the so-called "confession" on video by both the arrested Sister and the helper that at least three other infants had also been sold (in an undefined period), two for Rs 50,000 each and one given away for free.
She said she was compelled to issue the statement in view of "many myths, distorted information, false news and baseless innuendos" being leveled at the "Mother Teresa Sisters".
A few key dates in Sister Prema's statement:
- Unwed mother admitted to Nirmal Hriday on March 19, 2018
- Child born on 1st May 2018
- 29 June, the Ranchi Child Protection officer enquired about the delivery by the unwed mother
- Arrested Sister joined Nirmal Hriday in June 2017
- The help joined Nirmal Hriday January 2017 (and not 30 years ago, as claimed by some)
Some gaps in information:
- On what date did the help sell the infant?
- On what date did the mother submit in writing she wanted to surrender her infant to CWC?
A key detail in the statement is, the help, along with the unwed mother and the unwed mother's guardian, took the baby from the home and said she was going to CWC to surrender the infant. So the mother and the guardian were complicit, is what is suggested.
Sister Prema also states the CWC, on July 4, took away 12 unwed mothers, an infant and a guardian of an unwed mother away without giving any notice to Nirmal Hriday, a detail not known before.
On July 6, the CWC and police took away 22 children from another Missionaries home in Ranchi, Shishu Bhavan, Sister Prema added.
One of the 22 children was "a one month old baby who was very ill," the statement says. Why a one-month old infant was being kept at Shishu Bhavan could be questioned. After Missionaries of Charity stopped withdrew from putting children up for adoption end-2015, it is not supposed to hold infants below 6 years of age.
The Missionaries of Charity today has 5,167 sisters, 760 homes in 139 countries, 244 of them in India.