In an apparent snub to the Sangh, the government has decided to send a delegation led by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj to the Vatican for Mother Teresa’s canonisation on September 4.
The Sangh Parivar were not in favour of a government delegation at the mass. But the prime minister wanted a senior level representation at the mass.
Since PM Modi was busy attending the Egyptian president in India, he decided that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj should lead a delegation to represent India government at the mass.
Swaraj’s delegation includes food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal BJP’s Christian leaders like its Deputy Chief Minister in Goa Francis D’Souza and K J Alphons. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, too, will be at the Vatican as a guest of Missionaries of Charity.
The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has earlier accused that the prime motive behind Mother Teresa’s service to the destitute was converting them to Christianity. He had also said that her selfish aim devalued the virtues of a noble cause.
BJP MP Yogi Adityanath had earlier said Mother Teresa’s social service was part of a mission to spread Christianity in the country. “When people are not able to provide medical aid to their sick or differently abled children due to poverty, these people (missionaries) provide them facilities. During that period, they brainwash and make them.”
An online petition on change.org by a group called ‘BJP Friends’ was also initiated. The petition asked the “Government of India to not send representation at Mother Teresa’s canonisation”.
VHP’s international joint general-secretary Surendra Jain said Mother Teresa’s canonisation would lead to more conversions in India.
Earlier, PM Modi paid tribute to Mother Teresa in his radio programme Mann ki Baat, which has not gone well with the Parivar. The Prime Minister had praised Mother Teresa, a Nobel laureate and a Bharat Ratna, for devoting her life to serving the poor and the destitute.
The Catholic community has supported PM Modi’s reference to Mother Teresa in his ‘Mann Ki Bat’ programme.
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas said: “The Prime Minister articulated what many Indians feel; that Mother Teresa is ours.”
Bishop Mascarenhas said with this the PM Modi had appreciated the sweat and blood of every foreign missionary who has worked in India for the uplift of the people.