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ICC Note:

As Christian persecution in India continues to escalate, Hindu radicals have spoken out against the legacy of Mother Teresa. A leader of a right-wing Hindu nationalist group has claimed that Mother Teresa’s work with the poor in India was done “to make the person obligated so they would become Christian.” This revision of Mother Teresa comes only a week after India’s Prime Minister spoke out against religious intolerance in India and pledged to protect India’s religious minorities. 

2/24/2015 India (Wall Street Journal) – What motivated the late Mother Teresa, the Christian nun who spent her life working with some of India’s poorest: Love, duty, or something else?

Mohan Bhagwat, the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu organization that once counted Narendra Modi, now India’s prime minister, among its ranks, said on Monday that the idea behind Mother Teresa’s service was “to make the person obligated so that they become Christian.”

“Whether someone wants to convert it is their choice but if it is done in the guise of service then the service is devalued,” Mr. Bhagwat said at the opening of an orphanage in the town of Bharatpur in the western Indian state of Rajasthan on Monday.

He’s not the first to question the nun’s motives but his words add to controversy around religious conversions in India in recent months and days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government would ensure “freedom of faith” and wouldn’t allow any group “to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly.”

Mother Teresa, who was born in Macedonia but became an Indian citizen, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work in the slums of Kolkata in eastern India. She ran homes for people who were HIV positive, leprosy and tuberculosis and founded an order called the Missionaries of Charity, which continues to serve the poor today and has branches across the world.

Previously, British journalist and polemicist, Christopher Hitchens accused her in his writings of using the poor to perpetuate wretchedness and expand her Catholic beliefs.

Since Mr. Modi’s-led BJP, which has deep Hindu nationalist roots, was elected last year, some supporters of the party have become outspoken about their belief that India is a Hindu nation.

Some began a campaign calling for Muslims and Christians to be “reconverted” to Hinduism as well as proposing that Hindu women should have at least four children each to swell the religion’s numbers.

While Mr. Modi last week spoke out in support of India’s religious minorities, critics have raised questions about whether he has done enough to clamp down on divisive members of organizations that support the BJP.

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