By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi: Police in Jharkhand have arrested a woman working at s Missionaries of Charity center in Ranchi for allegedly selling infants born to unwed mothers.
They have also detained two nuns of the congregation, which was founded by Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata.
Shyamanand Mandal, a police officer, told reporters on July 4 that they detained the three under the direction of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state.
“An FIR (first information report) was lodged under Section 370 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and three persons were detained for questioning. One woman has now been placed under arrest and we have strong evidence against a nun in detention and she too could be arrested soon,” Mandal added.
Mandal said the case came to light after CWC inspected June end the Missionaries of Charity’s center on Jail Road in Ranchi in connection with a child missing complaint.
Meanwhile the Missionaries of Charity officials expressed shock and surprise at the case.
“It is a real shock for everyone,” Sunita Kumar, the congregation’s public relations officer told Matters India on July 5.
She said she came to know about the case only on July 4 evening. “We do not know all the details at the moment. We will get them soon,” Kumar told Matters India on July 5. She said the convent in Ranchi has a center for unwed mothers.
Kumar also said Missionaries of Charity superior general Sister Mary Prema, who is now abroad, has responded to the case through a statement.
“We are completely shocked at what has been happened in our home,” Sister Prema, the third successor of Saint Mother Teresa says.
What has happened “should never have happened. It is completely against our moral connections. We are carefully looking into this matter,” Sister Prema, a German native said.
She promised to take “all the necessary precaution” that such incident s would happen in again in their centers.
The statement was issued from Kolkata, the congregation is headquarters, some 425 km southeast of Ranchi
Meanwhile CWC member Pratima Tiwari explained how the case came to light.
The nuns manage the Jail Road center to shelter unwed mothers who have no place to give birth. “In one of our inspection trips to the institution a week ago, we found that one male newborn was missing.”
When questioned, a nun told the inspectors that the mother had taken the child away. “We contacted the mother and she told us that she does not have the child. We followed this up with institution again.”
The CWC official said their questioning baffled the nuns who contacted a family in Uttar Pradesh state to whom they had allegedly sold the child for 120,000 rupees.
On July 3, the family from Uttar Pradesh met CWC and told them that the institution had taken the money from them as ‘hospital fees,’ Tiwari was quoted in The Times of India newspaper.
The newspaper also claimed the arrested worker Anima Indwar has confessed that the institution had sold children to various families and provided a list of five mothers whose babies were given away.
“We have a written application from the UP-based family, Anima Indwar and the statement of the woman whose child was sold. We have handed over the papers to the police,” Tiwari said.
Jharkhand is currently ruled by a coalition headed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party), the political arm of rightwing Hindu groups.
Only June 23, the police in Khunti district of the state arrested a Jesuit priest for abetting the gangrape of five women.