Kerala govt told to send trafficked children home

Kerala govt told to send trafficked children home

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) on Tuesday directed the state government to send children allegedly trafficked to orphanages in northern Kerala back to their native states in three weeks.

The directive follows interaction by a team led by CPCR chairperson Neela Gangadharan with the children who are now lodged in shelter homes.

Railway police had last week detained 589 children from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal and eight men accompanying them in Palakkad while the children were being taken to orphanages in Kozhikode and Malappuram.

The CPCR, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the children were being brought to Kerala without mandatory clearances and in violation of Orphanage Control Board regulations.

The Commission has directed the Social Justice Department to ensure food and shelter for the children till they are returned to their families. It also recommended a survey of children from outside living in orphanages across the state.

Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan on Tuesday issued a statement seeking a probe into the trafficking allegations and functioning of orphanages in the state.

CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan and BJP state president V Muraleedharan had earlier demanded investigation into the incident that has left Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) – Congress ally in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) – on the back foot as it defends orphanages in Malabar run by Muslim outfits.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters on Tuesday that action would be taken after the government receives an official report on the incident.