Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi has today instructed the state governments across India to conduct investigations against all child care facilities run by Missionaries of Charity in their jurisdiction. In a shocking discovery earlier this month, it had come to light that nuns and other personnel of the organisation founded by Teresa in India, Missionaries of Charity, had been indulging in child trafficking. Nuns and helpers of the institution in Ranchi which operate under the name ‘Nirmal Hriday’ have been accused of selling new born babies to childless couples. As many as 280 children have allegedly been sold off with no trace of their whereabouts today, and all this from a single branch of the Missionaries of Charity and that too between a span of just three years from 2015-18. The organisation has a pan-India presence and is known to have ties with highly influential people in the society, no wonder the scam had been going on for so many years.
One of the employees at Nirmal Hriday, Anima Indwar had confessed of her involvement in the child selling racket and had accepted that nun Consilia and others were also involved in the same. The ease with which the sisters and the employees used to convince unmarried mothers, most of whom were underage, to give birth and then used to sell off their children is horrifying to say the least. Maneka Gandhi’s ministry has also issued a notice to the government officials to ensure registration of all the Child Care Institutions (CCI) with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). It is interesting that even after the Supreme Court ordered that registration of CCI with CARA is mandatory, there are only 2300 institutions which are registered while 4,000 operate without a registration as of today.
Maneka Gandhi’s decision falls a step short of curbing the menace posed by these CCIs, especially the ones run by missionary institutions. The missionaries at fault have already gotten too much time to hide traces of their wrongdoings. They must not get anymore of it. There is no use going easy on the fellows who commit such vile crimes, the ministry should order an immediate crackdown on the branches of organisations running throughout the country. A thorough and swift investigation would open the doors to many such instances of fraud which were committed in other branches of the ‘charity’ institutions.
People and organisations like these are a blot on humanity and should be treated as such, the orders issued by the Women and Child Development ministry under Maneka Gandhi are just not enough. These people had made a market where new born babies could be brought and sold like cattle, it deserves the strictest of punishments. It is also inadequate that the ministry’s statement has categorized the trade as illegal adoption, this has mellowed down the ghastly nature of the activity. The government should have instead worked with various state governments to conduct surprise raids and should have ordered a blanket shutdown of the organisations at fault. The steps taken by Maneka Gandhi can be categorized as too little too late as much more was expected with this matter coming to light.