Mother Teresa nun denied bail once again and remains in jail for trafficking babies.

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Mother Teresa nun denied bail once again and remains in jail for trafficking babies.

Sister Concelia Baxla filed a fresh bail application in the state’s High Court on July 12. Her bail was rejected by several courts including India’s Supreme Court early this year.

The nun was arrested on July 4 last year along with Anima Indwar, a staff member of the home for unwed mothers that the Missionaries Charity managed in state capital Ranchi. The arrest followed a complaint that Indwar took money to provide a baby but failed to keep the promise. They were accused of having already sold three babies from the home.

The Supreme Court rejected her bail application on Jan. 29 on grounds that police had not yet completed the investigation of the case. The nun was initially remanded for 14 days and was expected to get bail on July 20 last year, but was denied by the district court. Later, the state court denied her bail on Oct. 30 before the top court’s denial early this year. “I feel there is some strong element of political pressure in the case. Otherwise, the court has always granted bail in such cases,” said A.C. Michael, a Christian leader and former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission.

Michael said police in the state, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have already completed the investigation and charges are filed in the court. “One wonders what stops the court from granting bail,” said Michael, adding that church people expect the nun to get bail when the fresh bail application is heard this month. However, Jenis Francis, a Christian activist and lawyer, suggested sectarian hate was keeping the nun in the jail. “A person is innocent until proven guilty. Why the nun continues to languish in person is beyond one’s reach of reason,” Jenis said.

The police delay in filing the charges for more than six months was a reflection of how the state and its law enforcement agencies worked in tandem to fulfill the agenda of Hindu groups, the lawyer-activist said. “The prejudice against Mother Teresa is deeply rooted in the minds of Hindu fanatics. The name of Mother Teresa is deliberately being dragged into the case to defame her name and the work of her nuns among the poor,” Jenis told St. Teresa of Kolkata, popularly known as Mother Teresa, founded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950 to work among the poorest people in the slums of Kolkata city. It grew to become a global organization with about 5,000 members working in 139 countries. It has 244 homes in India. However, right-wing Hindu groups have opposed the work of Mother Teresa and her nuns, accusing them of working to convert poor Hindus to Christianity in the guise of social service.

For example, Yogi Adityanath, a BJP leader and chief minister of India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, has in a public speech said that the saintly nun was part of a conspiracy to Christianize India.