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Kolkata gears up for Mother's beatification

Last updated on: October 18, 2003 03:39 IST

Even as the Vatican gears up for Mother Teresa's beatification ceremony on Sunday, the city in which she took care of the poorest of the poor has lined up a series of programmes to mark the event.

The celebrations will begin on Saturday with the Bangiya Christiya Pariseba (BCP), the apex body of Christians in West Bengal, organising a statewide, all-faith prayer meet with street children.

"On Saturday, the main celebration will be at St Paul's church in south Kolkata after a Harmony and Amity Rally by street children. Similar rallies and prayer meets will be organised in all the 17 districts of the state," Pariseba general secretary Herod Mullick told PTI.

"There will also be veneration of Mother's relics at all the parishes under the Kolkata Archdiocese, besides pilgrimages and Eucharist at Mother Teresa's tomb at the Missionaries of Charity headquarters," Fr C M Paul, spokesman of the Archdiocese celebration committee, told PTI.

On Sunday, the BCP will organise another rally of street children at Mother's tomb. "We will assemble more than 2,000 boys and girls for the rally. They will make rounds of Mother's tomb and walk in a colourful procession up to the nearby Park Street crossing and return to Mother House," Mullick said.

On Sunday evening, there will be a two-hour audio-visual presentation and concert organised by the Don Bosco Past Pupils Association.

"(Pop singer) Anjan Dutta and (Baul artiste) Sanajit Mondal have been lined up. They knew Mother very closely and have donated for her cause. We also wanted Usha Uthup to come, but she is now in Rome," said Association secretary Rajesh Gupta.

On its part, the Archdiocese has also lined up a series of programmes during the first week of November as an extension of the beatification celebrations.

Mother Teresa does have her critics.

Stoking the controversy surrounding the 'miraculous cure' of Monica Besra that pushed Mother Teresa to beatification, rationalists on Friday demanded 'strong legal action' against her successor Sister Nirmala for 'propagating a false claim'.

Their demand is based on the testimony of two government doctors, who treated the tribal woman, that she was cured solely by medical intervention.

"We demand from the West Bengal and central governments strong legal action against Sister Nirmala for violating Indian laws as laid down by Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, besides the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisement) Act 1954 and the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940," Prabir Ghosh, general secretary of the Science and Rationalists Association of India, told PTI.

Ghosh, who submitted the demand to the Director-General of Police Dinesh Bajpai and Kolkata Police Commissioner Sujay Chakraborty, said that Sister Nirmala, currently at the Vatican for Sunday's beatification ceremony, had made false claims about the miraculous cure, besides propagating magic remedies.

"I have interviewed the doctors who treated Monica and I am fully satisfied that she was cured as a result of medical intervention," Ghosh said questioning whether Pope John

Paul II or Sister Nirmala would take the responsibility upon themselves if anybody felt encouraged to seek similar remedies for their illness and died in the process."

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