The Missionaries of Charity founded by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa has voluntarily given up their status to run adoption homes in India as they won’t be able to comply with the new adoption rules notified by the government in July, the global organisation said on Saturday.
Though the charity did not cite any reasons for the decision, taken two months ago at its Kolkata-based headquarters, Women and Child Development ministry officials said that one of the provisions in the new rules related to allowing single, divorced and separated people to adopt children were in conflict with the Catholic organisation’s religious and ideological beliefs.
“If we were to continue the work set up by Mother Teresa, complying with all the provisions would have been difficult for us,” Sunita Kumar, Missionaries of Charity spokesperson, said in a statement issued on Saturday.
The organisation runs 16 orphanages in India under the name of Nirmala Shishu Bhawan, providing shelter, food, medical care and schooling to abandoned and destitute children. Of this 13 were authorised by the government to run adoption centres.
Mother Teresa passed away in 1997 at the age of 87.
In their statement the Missionaries of Charity said that they are voluntarily discontinuing all their adoption work in India. This follows there letter to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) last month seeking de-recognition of their adoption homes.
The charity described as “a fruitful and rewarding experience” its adoption work and vowed to “serve wholeheartedly and free of charge -- unwed mothers, children with malnutrition and differently-abled children -- in all homes/centres run by us, irrespective of caste, creed and religion.”
The announcement came two days after Union women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi had said that the government would be forced to de-recognise the charity’s adoption centres if it failed to conform to the new rules which allows single people to register online and apply for adoption.
“They have cited ideological issues with our adoption guidelines related to giving a child up for adoption to single, unwed mothers. They have their own agenda and now when they have to come under a unified secular agenda they are refusing it,” Gandhi had said.
Gandhi’s ministry is also planning to reach out to the Missionaries of Charity and convince them to adhere to the new norms.
“We are trying to persuade them because they are valuable, good people and have experience. But if they do not follow the central guidelines we will be left with no option but to de-recognise the orphanages run by them and shift the children to other places,” the WCD minister had said.