BHARATPUR, RAJASTHAN: Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, has reportedly indicated that converting people to Christianity was the main objective behind Mother Teresa’s service to the poor, news agency Press Trust of India has reported.
“The service may be good, but there’s a motive behind it. The idea is to make the person feel obligated, so that they become Christians,” he reportedly said at a function in village Bajhera, around 8 km from Bharatpur, organised by NGO Apna Ghar.
“The question is not about conversion but if this (conversion) is done in the name of service, then that service gets devalued,” PTI quoted him as saying.
The RSS, the ideological mentor of the BJP, denied making the comment in a tweet.
The Missionaries of Charity – the organisation started by Nobel peace laureate Mother Teresa – is involved in charity work across the world.
“Mr Bhagwat is perhaps misinformed. We will do what Mother Teresa taught us: pray for him,” said Sunita Kumar, spokesperson, Missionaries of Charity.
“Mother Teresa’s only motive was to serve the poor. Through all my years with her, I have not experienced or seen any kind of conversion. I am a Sikh,” added Ms Kumar, who has been working with Mother Teresa since 1965.
Fr Savarimuthu Sankar, Spokesperson Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, said, “It is a very sad statement. We are downgrading her she is not even alive. If she has really converted please bring us the dates and we will answer to that.”
The Christian community had recently criticised the string of attacks on churches in Delhi, which it alleged, had been orchestrated. Earlier this month, priests, nuns and parishioners clashed with police as they staged a protest near the biggest cathedral in Delhi over the attacks.
Last week, the home ministry stepped in, ordering the police to bring the culprits to book. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, spoke out on the issue, saying his government “will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly”.