Wed, Jul 18, 2018 - Page 6 News List

India orders all Mother Teresa care homes inspected

SCANDAL:Police earlier this month arrested a nun at a branch of the organization founded by Mother Teresa over allegations that at least five infants had been sold

AFP, NEW DELHI

India has ordered an immediate inspection of all childcare homes run by a religious order founded by Mother Teresa after a nun was arrested over an alleged adoption racket.

Illegal adoption is a big business in India, with more than 100,000 children reported missing every year, the government says.

Many are given up by desperately poor parents, but others are snatched from hospitals and train stations.

Police earlier this month arrested the nun and a worker at one of the Missionaries of Charity order’s homes in Ranchi, the capital of eastern Jharkhand state, over allegations that at least five infants were sold for potentially thousands of dollars.

The scandal blew up after local child welfare authorities informed police about a newborn missing from the home, which is meant to care for unwed pregnant women and mothers in distress.

All state governments have been asked “to get child care homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately,” Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said in a statement late on Monday.

All childcare institutions should be registered and linked to the central adoption authority within the next month, she added.

The Indian Supreme Court had in December last year ordered mandatory registration of all childcare institutions and bringing orphanages under the central adoption system.

Since then, about 2,300 childcare institutions have been linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority and about 4,000 are still pending, the government said.

In the aftermath of the adoption scandal, the Missionaries of Charity had said it would carefully look into the Jharkhand case and ensure that the incident was never repeated.

The charity was founded in 1946 by Mother Teresa, a global symbol of compassion who was canonized as a saint after her death in 1997.

Headquartered in Kolkata in eastern India, the charity runs several institutions across the country.

Missionaries of Charity was previously involved in providing legal adoption services in India, but in 2015 said it was closing down its adoption centers, citing new regulations that made it easier for single and divorced people to adopt children.

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