Missing children traced after eight-hour search

Second such incident in a span of two days

Four inmates of Pragathi, a children’s home at Thrikkariyoor near Kothamangalam, who had gone missing on Thursday morning, were tracked down by the Kothamangalam police after more than eight hours of search.

Children, aged between nine and 12 years, had gone missing around 6.15 a.m. and were traced to a deserted property near the home around 2 p.m.

This was the second such incident in a span of two days. Four inmates had gone missing from the home on Tuesday night and were rescued by the Kothamangalam police during night patrol. One of them was among the four inmates who went missing on Thursday as well.

“The children said they had tried to flee owing to harassment by the warden. Since we registered a case for missing, we will have to produce them before the magistrate after which they will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee,” the Kothamangalam police said. The children were in an exhausted state when they were found as they had gone without food since morning. They were taken to a hospital and given drip.

The home is registered under the Juvenile Justice Act and has 26 inmates. Their custody was handed over to the home by the CWC. “We were informed about the incident following which arrangements were made for shifting them to another children’s home Sneha Jyothi at Perumbavoor,” said CWC acting chairperson Bitty K. Joseph.

On allegations of harassment against the warden, Ms. Joseph said the CWC was unaware of it and would be able to gauge the details after speaking to the children. They will be produced before the committee on Friday.

Meanwhile, Pragathi secretary T.R. Madhusudhanan shot down allegations of harassment. “The warden may have been strict with them over studies, and, obviously, it would not have gone down well with the children,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:08:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/missing-children-traced-after-eight-hour-search/article28090774.ece

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