Andhra Pradesh

CWC orders probe into alleged drugging of minors in W. Godavari

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A religious preacher and his wife from Eluru accused of giving country-made drugs to the children

The West Godavari District Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has ordered a probe into the alleged drugging of siblings by a religious preacher and his wife.

A preacher in the town had struck up an acquaintance several months ago with a man who was living alone with his two children, a daughter aged 14 and a son aged 12. The preacher reportedly used to visit the man’s house frequently. The man had separated from his wife several years ago and was the sole guardian of his two children.

A few days ago, the preacher lodged a police complaint against the man accusing him of neglecting his children allegedly over his alcohol addiction. Police registered the preacher’s complaint and referred the case to the CWC, which ordered a Home Study Report (HSR).

The CWC, in the course of its inquiry, ascertained that contrary to the preacher’s claims, the father was a teetotaller and was taking good care of his children. The children, in their statements that were video-recorded by the investigating officers, said that their father never neglected them or subjected them to ill-treatment. The CWC report also mentioned that the man’s neighbours too affirmed that he was taking good care of his children and giving them a good education.

The father later lodged a police complaint against the preacher couple, stating that during the course of the inquiry, the preacher took the children to his home and experimented on them by giving them some country-made drugs.

The father alleged that ever since the incident, both the children were mentally disturbed.

Following the man’s complaint, the CWC directed the police and the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) of the Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW) department to investigate the father’s allegations.

Considering the seriousness of the case and the mental condition of the siblings, the CWC ordered a thorough inquiry and directed that the children be enrolled at separate schools.

The CWC observed that the preacher and his wife seem to have levelled false allegations against the man and his children and had even made attempts to get the children put under foster care.

Speaking to The Hindu on Wednesday, Eluru Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) O. Dileep Kiran said the Eluru Two Town police are investigating the case, which was referred from the CWC.

“Police are assisting the other investigating agencies in the suspected drug injection case, which attracts Section 77 of The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015,” the DSP said.

The West Godavari police arrested a religious preacher earlier, who was allegedly trafficking children to the neighbouring States on the pretext of running a shelter home for the poor.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 11:14:35 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/cwc-orders-probe-into-alleged-drugging-of-minors-in-w-godavari/article30516939.ece

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