Child trafficking: High-level team from Jharkhand in Kerala
"Our government is viewing the incident very seriously and hence a high-level team has come," Ranjan told reporters today. The team would interact with the children brought from Jharkhand before arriving at any conclusion, he said.
"We will discuss with officers and state Chief Secretary and plan out what is to be done. As of now without knowing the facts nothing can be said," he answered when asked if it was a case of human trafficking.
The team would also talk to officials of the Kerala goverment, he said. Meanwhile, another official from Jharkhand, camping in Palakkad, said names and addresses of the children have been changed and at least 200 of them had been given Aadhar cards by the Kerala government.
The Child Rights Commission has registered a case in Jharkhand, he said. Parents of some children said they had been paid between Rs 1500 to Rs 2500 by middlemen and were not aware where their children were being taken.
The Kerala child rights panel had yesterday asked the government to send back the children to their home states in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal within three weeks as they were brought to the state without due documents and not following procedures under Juvenile Justice Act and Orphanage and Other Charitable Homes Act.
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 Palakkad to where they were brought in two batches by train.
The children, meant to be taken to some of the orphanages, have been kept in state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur.
Another team of officials, who came from Jharkhand earlier, are still in Kerala verifying the documents that the children 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.