India: MP accuses Mother Teresa of 'conspiracy for Christianisation of India'

A Hindu nationalist MP has accused Mother Teresa of conspiring to convert Hindus to Christianity.Reuters

An Indian MP has accused Mother Teresa of being part of a "conspiracy for [the] Christianisation of India".

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Yogi Adityanath said the Nobel laureate had conspired to convert Hindus to Christianity.

"Incidents of Christianisation had led to separatist movements in parts of North East, including Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland," the Gorakhpur MP said, addressing a crowd in Uttar Pradesh.

"You all are unaware of the situation in the North East. You should visit there to see the real situation."

This is not the first time Mother Teresa, a nun who served the poor in India for the majority of her life, has been accused of conspiracy. In 2015, the head of the Hindu nationalist NGO Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Mohan Bhagwat, said Mother Teresa's service to the poor was aimed at converting them to Christianity.

BJP is the political wing of RSS, which also has a religious wing – the World Hindu Council, Vishwa Hindu Parishad. It uses nationalist ideology to promote Hinduvata, which equates being Indian with having a Hindu faith.

Boasting almost seven million members, it regularly holds "reconversion" programmes, where Indian minority communities are encouraged to turn to Hinduism. The group has claimed that conversion to faiths other than Hinduism, including Christianity, is "the root of terrorism".

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom released a report last month highlighting a "negative trajectory" with regards to religious freedom in India.

"Minority communities, especially Christians, Muslims, and Sikhs, experienced numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence, largely at the hands of Hindu nationalist groups," it said.

"Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tacitly supported these groups and used religiously-divisive language to further inflame tensions. These issues, combined with longstanding problems of police bias and judicial inadequacies, have created a pervasive climate of impunity, where religious minority communities feel increasingly insecure, with no recourse when religiously-motivated crimes occur."

Mother Teresa worked in Indian slums with the goal to aid "the unwanted, the unloved, the uncared for."

She started the Missionaries of Charity, which by the time of her death in 1997 worked with over 4,000 people, along with many thousands of volunteers, with 610 foundations in 123 countries on all seven continents.

She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 in recognition of her work "in bringing help to suffering humanity."