Any immediate move would cause the displacement of over two lakh families living in these clusters amid the COVID-19 pandemic Credit: Representational Image

Kolkata: Bhola Hossain Mollah, from Boral village in South 24 Parganas, says whatever be the outcome over the controversy over the Missionaries of Charity’s foreign funds being stopped, all that he and many others who benefitted from the Mother House, wanted was that “they (Nuns) be allowed to do their work”.

The Mother House, which Mother Teresa set up in 1953, located on 54A Acharya Jagdish Chandra Road, is a stone’s throw away from Kolkata’s oldest pilgrimage – Kalighat Temple, and has become a site for a different kind of pilgrimage for people of different faith who feel the late Mother Teresa, also known as ‘the Saint of the Gutters’ made a difference to this city and the world.

The unassuming Mother House is also a working Mission where the poor are looked after and fed, besides being the headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity. It also has a small Museum and Mother Teresa’s tomb, attracting devotees from all parts of the world.

Said Mollah, “I was rescued by the Mothers (nuns) of this home when I was lying on the footpath with serious foot injury. They treated me free and now I get food from them thrice a day as I recuperate.”

The 40-year-old destitute said, “I don’t know about their source of funds and I don’t want to. All I wish is they should be allowed to do their work.”

Nuns scurried about in their habits busy on their chores. “The doors of the Mother House is open to all and all our daily activities are continuing. It will with the support of you all,” an elderly Sister told PTI, blessing him but refusing to say anything else.

The lane adjacent to the white building with blue streaks, in the colours of the sari which most Nuns wear, seemed quiet and forlorn with a handful visitors.

Michael, leader of a 10-member group of visitors from Mumbai including children seemed unaware about the controversy over the Centre refusing to renew a licence granted under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) which allowed the Mission to access donations from abroad, said he did not see anything unusual at the Mother House.

“We prayed inside, we were blessed by the nuns present, we offered tribute to the tomb, but the situation was the same as three years back when I had visited the place first. It is serene, quiet and very divine,” he said.

A woman member of the group said, “We believe the Missionaries of Charity cannot do anything wrong. They are serving the poor, the people. They should be allowed to do their work. If there are any problems with foreign funding that should be addressed for the benefit of poor.”

The Ministry of Home Affairs had on Monday said the Missionaries of Charity’s application for renewal of the FCRA registration was refused on December 25 for not meeting eligibility conditions, as some adverse inputs were received.

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