'Abandoned' Dera kids have no claimants

'Abandoned' Dera kids have no claimants

Many children who were rescued from inside the controversial Dera Sacha Sauda in Sirsa in Haryana have not been claimed by parents or guardians even months after the "fall" of the sect.  

Authorities are in a fix in the absence of records that were required to be with the sect to establish if these children were surrendered by parents or kept there as orphans.

Some of these kids are only five years. Ever since they were rescued from the Dera in September, none of their known ones have visited them. The children are under the care of the child protection unit which is now desperately looking for clues to unite them with parents. The officials aren't sure whether they were brought up as orphans at the Dera.  

Five-year-old Karamleen and six-year-old Sushleen are among those being tended to at the child protection unit in Sirsa. Officials, while talking to DH on Tuesday, said that according to available information, some of the children must have been at the sect not long after birth. The child welfare officials say these kids will be put up for adoption under the juvenile justice act after a month in case no one turns up to claim them.    

"As many as 19 children who were at the Dera all this while have been claimed by their parents or guardians," a senior functionary said. Fourteen-year-old Rimpy alias Anjali and 16-year-old Gurbahar alias Meghna are among the unfortunate ones not visited by anyone so far.

The sect kept several children who were not orphans but grew up in the "orphanage" inside. These children were groomed since early childhood to serve the sect chief as his devout.   They were "surrendered" by their parents. They did not enjoy the absolute freedom to meet their parents and would get to see them only during congregations. Parents share the onus of the blame for surrendering their children in the name of faith before Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, the now-jailed fake Baba serving a 20-year term.

 

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