Children brought to Kerala from northern states illegally: RPF

Children brought to Kerala from northern states illegally: RPF

Children brought from other states to orphanages in northern Kerala last week were being transported without the mandatory government clearances, an official from a probe team said in Palakkad on Sunday. 

The Railway police had detained 589 children from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and eight people accompanying them to orphanages in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, in Palakkad last week.

Manish Sinha, a Jharkhand Labour Commission official and member of an official team from Jharkhand investigating into the incident, said a case would also be registered in that state. 

He was speaking with reporters after meeting the children who are now lodged in shelter homes in the district. 

Members of the Kerala Child Rights Commission had earlier interacted with the children, all aged under 14 years, and taken their statements.

Meanwhile, Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) Chief Investigating Officer S Sreejith told TV channels that it was a clear case of child trafficking and highlighted discrepancies in management of records by orphanage administrators. 

He also interacted with some of the children lodged in an orphanage in Mukkam in Kozhikode district.

More officials from Jharkhand are expected to be in Kerala this week as part of the investigation. 

Railway Police officials had intercepted the children at Palakkad while they were travelling in the Patna-Ernakulam Express. 

There are reports that children from minority communities were being brought in from underprivileged families in other states to secure grants in Kerala.

 The official team from Jharkhand arrived in Palakkad on Saturday even as a controversy was brewing around allegations of child trafficking involved in the incident.Political twist

Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala’s open criticism of orphanages that brought children from other states led Congress ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) to issue a statement of protest. 

The IUML has maintained that there was propaganda to tarnish the image of orphanages run by Muslim organisations in the state. Samastha Kerala Jam’iyyathul Ulama (SKJU), a Muslim organisation, on Sunday slammed the Home Minister’s comment. 

The State Minority Commission also gave a clean chit to the orphanages saying that there was no child trafficking involved in the incident and the children were being brought to Kerala only to be provided good education.

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