Kerala

CBI starts probe into ‘child trafficking’ case

The orphanages claimed that the children were orphans and being brought to Kerala to give them better education and care.  

A month after the Kerala High Court ordered a CBI investigation into the alleged trafficking of children to orphanages in Kerala from West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand by pointing out that a Central agency is required to conduct a proper investigation, officials of the investigating agency reached Palakkad and started collecting evidence.

On Friday and Saturday, they gathered evidence and documents collected by the Crime Branch office from here. CBI inspectors Ranjith Pandey and A. Vinod are investigating the case. Crime Branch had earlier registered two cases for alleged child trafficking.

The CBI team would soon visit two orphanages in Kozhikode and Malappuram.

Detained

In the last week of May 2014, the Railway Police in Palakkad had detained 589 children in a suspected trafficking case. The children had arrived in two trains at the Palakkad Junction railway station from Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The first batch of 466 children, which reached Palakkad by Patna-Ernakulam Express, comprised natives of Bihar and Jharkhand while the second batch of 123 children came from West Bengal by Guwahati-Thiruvananthapuram Express. Most of the children were below the age of 12. Many of them had gone without food and water for hours together and were travelling ticketless.

Though some of the children produced identity cards of Mukkam Muslim Orphanage in Kozhikode and Vettathur Anwarul Orphanage in Malappuram, the majority of them did not have documents to prove their identity. Meanwhile, the orphanages in Kozhikode and Malappuram claimed that the children were orphans and being brought to Kerala to give them better education and care.

No documents

However, child rights activists said the children, some of them infants, did not have mandatory documents such as admission papers and certificates related to birth, age, income, etc. Though eight persons were arrested in connection with the incident, the probe failed to take much headway.

The multi-State probe ordered into the issue was stopped halfway though investigators travelled across Bihar, West Bengal and Jharkhand to collect evidence. All the arrested, believed to be intermediaries acted on behalf of the orphanages, were released on bail later.

The orphanages were accused of taking children to the State to get huge grants from donor agencies. Though the police said it was a case of child

trafficking, Kerala State Minority Commission said no trafficking was involved.

The chairman of the Mukkom orphanage is a top leader of the Indian Union Muslim League.





The orphanages claimed that the children were orphans and being brought to Kerala to give them better education and care.





CBI inspectors collect documents from Crime Branch office

Crime Branch had registered two cases for alleged child trafficking







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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 2:28:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cbi-starts-probe-into-child-trafficking-case/article7491179.ece

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