Five children, who were abandoned by their father in a farmhouse on the outskirts of the city, were rescued by officials of the Women and Child Development Department and the police on Tuesday.
The children – aged between 12 and 3 – are from Vellore in Tamil Nadu. The eldest of the siblings, who is hardly 12, said her father Mayappan had gone to Tamil Nadu almost 10 days ago but did not return.
Sources in the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the Social Welfare Department in Bangalore told The Hindu that the children, who had lost their mother in a road accident about a year ago, were living in a dilapidated house on the farm in Kempe Gowdana Hundi.
“The children were first found by local residents and workers in the adjoining farm. They offered them food and snacks for two or three days hoping that their father would return,” according to the Mysore district CWC president, N.T. Venkatesh.
Since their father did not return, the residents informed the police on Tuesday, Mr. Venkatesh said.
Quoting the residents, he said the place where the children were kept was dingy, lacked ventilation and sanitation and infested with snakes.
The children were understood to have told the police that the farm owner had asked them to work since their father had run away after taking money from him.
Mr. Venkatesh denied knowing anything about it. However, he pointed out that the farm owner, a resident of Mandi Mohalla in Mysore, was guilty of illegal detention of children. He had been summoned before the CWC to give an explanation.
A villager, who appeared before the CWC here on Tuesday, gave a written complaint against the farm owner stating that the condition in which the children were housed was terrible and no food had been served to them since the last few days.
The rescued children have been sent to Bapuji’s Children Home where they will be taken care of till they are reunited with their father or relatives.
Meanwhile, Mr. Venkatesh said their first priority would be to reunite the children with their father or relatives. However, alternative arrangements had to be made if their father or any of their relatives could not be traced.
However, P. Baburaj, member, Juvenile Justice Board, said even if the father returned, the CWC would have to ensure that he was capable of taking care of his children failing which the committee could retain the children. “The father will have only visitation rights,” he added.