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India restores foreign fund permit for Mother Teresa charity

NEW DELHI — India’s government has allowed Mother Teresa’s charity to receive foreign funds, weeks after blocking it saying the Catholic organization did not meet conditions under local laws, a lawmaker said Saturday.

Derek O’Brien, a lawmaker from the opposition Trinamool Congress party, tweeted that Missionaries of Charity was back on the list of approved associations after its license to receive funds from foreign contributions was restored.

On Christmas, the government had rejected the charity’s application to renew a license that allows it to receive funds from abroad, citing “adverse inputs.” The move was widely condemned by opposition politicians and rights groups and came in the wake of a string of attacks on Christians in some parts of India by Hindu nationalist groups, which often accuse pastors and churches of forced conversions.

The charity, which Mother Teresa started in Kolkata in 1950, runs hundreds of shelters that care for some of the world’s neediest people. Many leaders from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party have accused the charity of forced conversions. The charity has denied the allegations.

Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work in 1979, and Pope Francis declared her a saint in 2017, two decades after her death.

India is home to the second largest Catholic population in Asia after the Philippines, but the roughly 18 million Catholics represent a small minority in the largely Hindu nation of nearly 1.4 billion.