Child trafficking: Panel asks govt to send back kids

Child trafficking: Panel asks govt to send back kids
Thiruvananthapuram, Jun 3: With the trafficking of over 500 children from Eastern states to orphanages in Kerala snowballing into a major issue, the state child rights panel today directed the government to send back the children to their home states.

Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights headed by former Chief Secretary Neela Gangadharan asked the government to make arrangements for taking children to their home in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal within three weeks. The panel was of the view that the children were brought without due documents and not following due procedures under the Juvenile Justice Act and Orphanage and Other Charitable Homes Act.

It also wanted the Kerala Government to ensure that a comprehensive enquiry was conducted in consultation with the states from where the children had been brought with the intention of taking them to two orphanages in north Kerala. The state had been asked to take care of their lodging and boarding till proper arrangements were made for the home- bound journey.

The orders were issued after its chairperson and members visited Palakkad where most of the children had been lodged. It instructed authorities concerned to gather information regarding children from other states living in all orphanages in the state. A police investigation is already underway by a special team in the case and an FIR lodged following the arrest of eight persons, who accompanied 586 children at Plakkad to where they were brought in two batches by train.

The children, meant to be taken to some of the orphanages, had been kept in state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur. A team of officials, who came from Jharkhand on Sunday, are still in Kerala verifying the documents that children had brought with them. The issue has also caused ruptures within the ruling UDF with key partner IUML resenting the measures taken by the Home Department.

When asked about the displeasure voiced by IUML leaders, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said he did not want to make any comment now since investigation was continuing. Meanwhile, Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan demanded a thorough probe into the child trafficking incident which was steeped in deep mystery. 


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