Amid allegations of trafficking, 119 children from Jharkhand were sent back to their native place on Monday evening.
The children boarded two specially commissioned air-conditioned coaches attached to the Ernakulam-Patna Express at 9.30 p.m. from Palakkad Junction railway station.
Seventeen officials from Kerala, including Revenue authorities, women police constables and Social Welfare board employees are accompanying the children along with six officials of Jharkhand.
The District Collector and senior police officials reached the station to see off the children along with District Child Rights Committee members. The Kerala Social Welfare Department has released Rs.10 lakh to meet their expenses, including ticket, food, and clothing.
Food will be provided at select stations by the IRCTC.
Seventeen children are below five years while one is a three-month-old infant. Jharkhand officials said the children would undergo a detailed medical examination on reaching Ranchi.
Fifteen children from Bihar who were temporarily accommodated along with children from Jharkhand at a child welfare centre at Pezhumkara here were shifted to another centre at Muttikulangara here late Monday. The Judicial Magistrate had recorded the statements of the children from Jharkhand in camera. So far, 10 persons suspected to be involved in child trafficking have been taken into custody. The State Crime Branch will expand its investigation to Jharkhand.
Keywords: Child trafficking