Seeking to defuse the controversy over the Albanian government’s request for transfer of Mother Teresa’s remains to that country, the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) has appealed to a Christian body to cancel its protest-rally here on the issue.
“We had planned a rally here on October 23 to protest against the claims of the Albanian government. But we received an appeal from the Mother House not to hold it. The rally is not being held to honour the appeal,” Herod Mullick, state secretary of Bangiya Christiya Pariseba, an apex body of Christians in the state, told PTI.
He replied in the negative when asked if the MoC had cited any reason for its disapproval of the rally. “All they told us was that they did not want the rally to be held at this point in time.”
A source close to the MoC said, however, that it did not want any controversy to be raised on the issue since the Centre had already made it clear that it would not allow transfer of Mother Teresa’s mortal remains to Albania.
“Besides, the Missionaries of Charity has not been formally approached by the Albanian government. And as far as we know, they have neither approached the Government of India on this matter,” she said.
The Centre has already rejected the Albanian government’s request, saying that Mother was an Indian citizen.
Albania, which became free from Communist rule in 1991, is in a squabble with neighbouring Macedonia over Mother Teresa’s nationality. Although born to Albanian parents, her birthplace Skopje is now in Macedonia.
Prime Minister of Albania Sali Berisha had said it was important to place Mother Teresa’s remains next to those of her mother and sister buried inside a cemetery in that country’s capital Tirana.
Mr. Berisha said his country planned to open a museum in Mother Teresa’s honour and commemorative events were also being lined up for her centenary next year.
Although dropping its protest rally at the request of the MoC, the BCP, however, made it clear that it was in no mood to stop building public opinion against the Albanian government’s move.
“We will write to the Government of Albania requesting it to drop its plans to have Mother’s relics transferred,” Mr. Mullick said.
Besides, memoranda would also be sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pope Benedict XVI, besides the heads of government of some prominent countries like the US, UK, Italy, France Belgium and Spain.
Asked why the governments of countries other than Albania would be contacted, he said, “This is to create a world-wide public opinion.”
Prior to the visit of Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki to Mother House here this January, there was media speculation that her right palm could be taken to Macedonia to be placed at the Memorial House in her honour at Skopje.
During his meeting with the then MoC superior-general Sister Nirmala, she, however handed him over a scarf and some other articles associated with Mother Teresa for placing them at the Memorial House which opened on Janaury 30 this year.
While at Mother House, Mr. Milososki also placed a plaque at Mother’s tomb which read, ‘A Token of Gratitude from the Republic of Macedonia and the Fellow Citizens of her Native Town, Skopje.’