Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 5,
The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), expressed concern about the non-renewal licenses for foreign funds by several NGOs in India.
“USCIRF is concerned with India using the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) to target NGOs, including religious organisations. These actions continue to fuel a hostile environment for religious communities,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza while reposting an article that said India’s move to block the flow of foreign funds to Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity (MC) comes amid a pushback by right-wing Hindu nationalists who accuse Christian missionaries of converting Hindus against their will or by offering bribes.
It said that MC was among the most prominent of the thousands of non-profits, religious charities, and rights organizations facing a funding ban in light of tighter scrutiny of these groups as a part of the FCRA.
The effective freeze on the charity’s foreign donations is being seen by critics as part of the targeting of religious minorities. “If you want to create an impact, you pick icons. When you target visible and revered icons, its shock value is far greater and there is nothing in India more prominent, more trusted and respected than the Missionaries of Charity,” said Valson Thampu, former principal of St. Stephen’s College.
The Home Ministry has said it was not renewing MC’s licence to receive foreign funds because of
“adverse inputs”’ but provided no further explanation. This is a development that follows the Gujarat MC-run children’s home being accused of trying to convert young girls to Christianity.