Missionaries of Charities issue: probe found ‘girls wearing cross’ at Vadodara home

FIR filed against Children Home for Girls following allegations by NCPCR of religious conversions

The Central government’s rejection of Missionaries of Charities’ (MoC) request for Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA) renewal comes within weeks of a First Information Report (FIR) filed against one of its children’s homes in Vadodara following allegations by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) of religious conversions.

The FIR against the Children Home for Girls was filed on December 12 under Section 295 (A) of the amended Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, which pertains to deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.

Inspection by panel chief

This was a result of an inspection conducted by NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo in August. He found that “non-Christians were made to learn Christian texts” and “there were several copies of Bible with the names of inmates on them,” Mr. Kanoongo told The Hindu on Monday.

Following the visit, he asked the police to investigate the matter. An inquiry led by a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and another one by a District Social Security Officer followed.

The CWC report noted that there was an inmate “from a Punjabi family who is married to a person from Christian family” and “girls are encouraged to religion change (sic) and cross seen in the neck of girls. So CWC instructed to remove them”.

The District Social Security Officer’s report observed that “all children residing in the home are made to attend Sunday Mass at church” and that during a visit to the dormitory of children it was found that “Bible was distributed with names of children on it.”

A copy of each of the reports has been reviewed by The Hindu.

‘Trafficking racket’

This is not the first time the MoC has come under the NCPCR’s radar. Following an arrest of its member in Ranchi on charge of trafficking, Mr. Kanoongo said, he found that there were many instances that pointed to a “trafficking racket” across the MoC-run homes in Jharkhand, “where minors went out, became pregnant, and came back and delivered child”.

The NCPCR approached the Supreme Court in 2020 seeking a court-monitored special investigation team probe into alleged child trafficking by children’s homes run by the MoC in the State.

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