Punjab: Over 30 Children From Shelter Home Missing, Allegedly Converted To Christianity
In a shocking case surfacing from Ludhiana district of Punjab, over 30 kids were missing from a shelter home and were allegedly forced to change their religion to Christianity. These kids were reportedly from Jharkhand and Bihar. The information was acquired when Jharkhand police received a complaint from a Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Chaibasa member, Jyotsna Tirkey on August 26. The parents suspecting that their children have been trafficked informed CWC. However, Ludhiana police are yet to register an FIR, as Times of India reported. On receiving the complaint, the police raided the premises of Paksin Mary Cross Child Shelter Home.
Satyendra Prasad Musa and Junal Longa who were running the shelter are suspected to be accused in the case. Musa is being interrogated regarding the whereabouts of missing children.
Atleast 30-40 children aged 5 to 18 were staying there. Out of them only eight kids were rescued during the raid and sent to another care home in Doraha. “Out of 38 children in the home, only eight could be rescued so far and shifted to a government registered home here in Ludhiana while the rest 30 are yet to be traced,” additional deputy commissioner (ADC, development) Shena Aggarwal is probing the matter,” Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Dr Agrawal told Hindustan Times over phone on August 28.
On the other hand, according to The Indian Express, Musa told police that shelter home was completely legal and that he was paying for the children’s education because their families were very poor and couldn’t afford the education.
During the raids, police also found that the Shelter Home in Phullanwal was operating without registration as mandatory under the Juvenile Justice Act. They also confiscated several records from home.
A member of the Ludhiana CWC said, “We have been able to find few photos and records of only 30-40 kids from the home though about 300-400 children stayed and passed out from there during past ten years. As per documents seized, every child came here by the written undertaking of the oath on Bible.”
The police, who are investigating the case also said that the children were given new Christian names and the letters attached to each child’s file read that they were admitted here on the oath of Bible. Confirming religious conversion, Banarasi Ram, a sub-inspector leasing the special team of West Singhbhum police, Ludhiana said that the police had found evidence of the same. “The kids have been converted and were taught Christian doctrines. We have collected evidence to this effect,” sub-inspector Ram said.