It's very sad and at the same time a great shame for the Catholic Church and our community that in spite of all of Sister Concelia’s co-sisters, Superiors, Bishops, priests having been convinced of her innocence, as claimed by Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the CBCI, Sister Concelia has been languishing in jail for the last 222 days. Unfortunately the court would not pay heed to the certificate of innocence issued by Bishop Mascarenhas and his ilks. What is urgently needed is a crack team of lawyers, instead of looking up to the heaven in helplessness and hope as proferred by the Bishop. Both Missionaries of Charity and the Catholic Church have loads of money. How is it they still prefer to look up to the heaven instead of zeroing upon a crack team of lawyers who would deliver? Unfortunately we do not seem to have quality lawyers in our community due to the apathy of the Church to pay attention to Crisis Management. Bishop Mascarenhas should come forward to set up a fund to encourage the legal profession among budding brains so that we have home-grown lawyers to protect the community from future shocks. One is not aware of the composition of the current team of lawyers. We have some Catholic lawyers like Mr Kirit Macwan and Romesh Niven of Gujarat High Court and of course Mr Colin Gonsalves of the Supreme Court of India. Both Missionaries of Charity and CBCI must look for a panel of professionals not those who genuflect to the Church Hierarchy. "Look up to the heaven in helplessness and hope" will not suffice except shedding more tears for and of sister Concelia and her aide. Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.
New Delhi, Feb 19, 2019: A Missionaries of Charity nun and an employee of Nirmal Hriday Home have been locked in jail for the last 222 days on the charges of child trafficking in the Jharkhand. The two women are languishing in the prison in Jharkhand and not even granted bail despite suffering from serious medical conditions.
Sister Concelia Baxla, a Mother Teresa Sister, and Ms Anima Indwar, an employee of the Nirmal Hriday Home, were arrested by the police under the charges of child trafficking. Sister Concelia, an elderly woman, is suffering from diabetes and varicose veins, couldn’t get bail because the police haven’t yet framed the charges against her. Nirmal Hriday is one of the 18 houses of mercy run by the Mother Teresa Sisters in the State of Jharkhand.
Their colleagues and peers are citing their innocence and are now claiming that the police action against the two ladies is a politically manipulated move. They are also questioning the apathy of the judicial system in the country which has turned a blind eye towards the ordeal of two poor and innocent women, who devoted their entire life to the service of mankind.
According to Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, Secretary General of the CBCI, “All of Sister Concelia’s co-sisters, Superiors, Bishops, priests are convinced of her innocence. But the slow speed at which the wheels of justice are churning appears to be hinting towards the use of money power, political clout, massive media propaganda and even blatant manipulation of evidence to frame the innocent women. We can only look up to the heaven in helplessness and hope, as every attempt to even get bail for her has been outrightly rejected by our judiciary at various levels, sometimes in a matter of minutes.”
Bishop Mascarenhas cites the Supreme Court order in February last year, in which the bench headed by Justice Madan B. Lokur lamented the fact how several people are being incarcerated in the jails for a longer period.
“Another important facet of our criminal jurisprudence is that the grant of bail is the general rule and putting a person in jail or in a prison or in a correction home is an exception. Unfortunately, some of these basic principles appear to have been lost sight of with the result that more and more persons are being incarcerated and for longer periods. This does not do any good to our criminal jurisprudence or to our society,” the apex court ruling stated in February 2018.
“However, this yardstick does not seem to be applied for Sr. Concelia. Neither the fact that she is a woman, nor her ill health, nor her age could move the judges to grant her the simple relief of being out on bail,” laments Bishop Mascarenhas.
Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, who recently visited the sister in jail, further highlighting the tapestry of injustice towards the poor woman said, “We came to know that the alleged case of ‘Human Trafficking’ against Sr Concelia is now being conveniently represented as a case of ‘Irregular Adoption’. The couple, who is supposed to have ‘purchased’ the child, has been given anticipatory bail on the statement of the girl, who gave birth to the child, that she has handed over the child of her own free will. The maid at the hospital, who helped in the transfer of the child to the ‘adoptive parents’, has also been granted anticipatory bail. Meanwhile, our poor sister continues to be in jail.”
The family of the nuns along with the Bishop appeal for a fair enquiry into the matter that the sister be at least granted bail.