Warden of children’s home arrested

Four missing inmates traced after eight hours of search

The Kothamangalam police on Friday arrested the warden of Pragathi, a children’s home at Thrikkariyoor near Kothamangalam, following complaints of harassment by a few of its inmates who attempted to run away before being rescued by the police.

The arrested was identified as Supran, 56, of Amballoor in Thrissur. He was moved to a hospital after he complained of unease.

The accused was slapped with IPC Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) and Section 75 of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.

Four inmates, aged between 9 and 12 years, had gone missing on Thursday morning and were traced to a deserted property adjacent to the children’s home after more than eight hours of search. This was the second such incident in a span of two days.

“We arrested the warden after the rescued children complained of being beaten by him. We produced the children before the chief judicial magistrate and later before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC),” said G. Rajan Kumar, sub inspector, Kothamangalam.

However, authorities were suspicious about the genuineness of the allegation of harassment.

“We got the impression that the children were tutored in levelling the allegation of harassment. Though they initially stuck to their version, they later admitted that they made the allegation on the advice of an older inmate at the home. Though the parents also repeated their children’s complaint, they had not verified their account. The issue needs to be further investigated,” said Bitty K. Joseph, acting chairperson of the CWC.

It is suspected that being homesick after having spent the vacation at home may have prompted the children to attempt to escape from the institution and level the allegation. Most of the inmates were staying away from home for the first time. The warden’s tough posture to discipline them would also have played a part, sources said.

The CWC send the children along with their parents who expressed a desire to take them back.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 1:57:30 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/warden-of-childrens-home-arrested/article28103755.ece

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