India restores foreign funding permit for Mother Teresa charity

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Image caption,
The Missionaries of Charity run community kitchens, schools and hospices across India

India has allowed Mother Teresa's charity to receive foreign funds, weeks after it refused to renew its licence.

On Christmas Day, India's home ministry announced it had not renewed the registration due to "adverse inputs".

Hindu hardliners have long accused the charity of using its programmes to convert people to Christianity. The charity has denied these allegations.

But the Missionaries of Charity is now back on the list of associations approved to receive foreign funds.

Its reinstatement was tweeted by Derek O'Brien, a lawmaker from the opposition Trinamool Congress party.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The government is yet to comment, but ANI news agency said the licence was restored after "necessary documents (were submitted) to concerned department".

Last month the charity confirmed that its renewal application had been denied, and that it would not operate any foreign funding accounts "until the matter is resolved".

Earlier the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, drew criticism after tweeting that the government had frozen the charity's bank accounts. But the government and the country both denied that the accounts were frozen.

The Kolkata-based charity was founded in 1950 by Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun who was born in Skopje, then part of the Ottoman empire, but now the capital of North Macedonia.

It is one of the world's best-known Catholic charities. Mother Teresa was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work, and she was declared a saint by Pope Francis in 2016, 19 years after her death.

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Who was Mother Teresa?

The majority of India's population are Hindu. But there are around 28 million Christians in the country, around 2% of the population, a Pew study found last year.

Authorities have sought to crack down on alleged campaigns to convert Hindus to Christianity and Islam. Several BJP-ruled states have recently passed, or are considering passing laws that ban religious conversion for marriage.

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