New Delhi: Converting people to Christianity was Mother Teresa’s motive for helping people – this controversial comment by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat left the government facing opposition fury in Parliament today.
“These comments have been made against a person who is not just the country’s, but the world’s legacy. No amount of condemnation can be enough,” said Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia, amid cries of “shame” from the opposition benches.
The Congress said the ruling BJP must apologise for the RSS, its ideological mentor.
“I can give explanation on what the government says, not on what some party’s chief or general secretary says,” Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu replied.
On Monday, Mr Bhagwat was attending a function organized by an NGO at a village in Rajasthan when he said, “Here, the service isn’t like Mother Teresa’s. Her service would have been good but it used to have one objective, to see that the person who was being helped felt obliged to become a Christian. ”
The RSS today said, “One has to go by what Dr. Bhagvat has said in its totality. He was dwelling on the concept of service in the Bharatiya (Indian) context.”
The comments come days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a strong pitch for religious freedom and said his government “will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly.”
This morning, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “I worked wid Mother Teresa for a few months at Nirmal Hriday ashram in Kolkata. She was a noble soul. Pl spare her.”
Mother Teresa, a Nobel Peace prize laureate, founded the Missionaries of Charity, which runs hospitals, shelters and orphanages in several countries. She was beatified in 2003.
“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,” said Sunita Kumar, a spokesperson of the organization, who started working with Mother Teresa in 1965.