Indian government blocks charity founded by Mother Teresa from receiving foreign funds

·2-min read

India's government has blocked a charity founded by Mother Teresa from receiving foreign funds.

The Missionaries of Charity, which runs schools, clinics, hospices and homes for abandoned children in India, had applied to renew its foreign-funding licence.

But on Christmas Day, India's home ministry said it had rejected the application due to "adverse inputs".

In a statement released on Monday, the charity said it would not operate any foreign funding accounts "until the matter is resolved".

The Missionaries of Charity is one of the world's best-known Catholic charities and consists of thousands of nuns overseeing community projects.

It was founded in Kolkata in 1950 by Mother Teresa, who was a Roman Catholic nun herself and had moved to India.

The charity runs hundreds of shelters that care for some of the world's neediest people whom she had described as "the poorest of the poor".

Awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work, Macedonia-born Mother Teresa was declared a saint by Pope Frances in 2016 - almost 20 years after her death in 1997.

Some Hindus have accused the charity of using its programmes to convert people to Christianity - something it denies.

Critics say religious tensions have grown under prime minister Narendra Modi's government.

There have recently been a string of attacks on Christians in some parts of India by Hindu right-wing groups, who accuse pastors and churches of forced conversions.

Hindu vigilante groups disrupted Christmas celebrations in parts of the country this year, protesting outside religious gatherings, and vandalising a church in northern India.

India is home to roughly 18 million Catholics, but they represent a small minority compared to the nearly 1.4 billion Hindus.

Last year, Mr Modi's government put restrictions on foreign funding for some charities and other NGOs based in India - including freezing bank accounts belonging to Amnesty International.

On Monday, the Indian government clarified that it had not frozen any accounts associated with the Missionaries of Charity.

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