14 migrant children rescued from house at Menonpara
A day after rescuing 14 migrant children from a house at Menonpara, near here, and bringing them under the temporary care of the Palakkad district child welfare committee, the police are investigating whether it is an attempt of human trafficking.
Two office-bearers of the New Delhi-based Grace Care Society, who allegedly took the children to Menonpara and arranged their stay there, are in police custody. Chittur Circle Inspector V. Hamsa is leading the investigation team. The children, claiming to be natives of Greater Noida, are lodged at the Government Children’s Home at Muttikulangara here.
District Collector P. Marykutty said the boys, aged between 11 and 14, did not possess any valid document. The district child welfare committee said the children would be released only after confirming that they were not being trafficked and on furnishing all documents.
Thomas George, one of the persons in custody, said the children were taken to Menonpara as part of an educational initiative of Grace Care.
He said the documents were with the organisation, which included consent letters from families. Meanwhile, an office-bearer of the organisation contacted the district police from Noida and said he would reach Palakkad soon to produce the Aadhaar cards of the children.
However, the district child welfare committee maintained that Aadhaar cards were not enough and they should be supported by certificates of their parents, a letter from the village officer, and also the confirmation of the child welfare committees concerned in their respective village.
New Delhi-based charity organisation fails to present documents, manager in judicial custody
The district administration has began efforts to send back 14 children from Noida, who were found at a house at Menonpara near here five days ago. Grace Care Society, the New Delhi-based charity organisation, has failed to produce any legally mandated certificate to prove its claim that the children were taken to Palakkad as part of an educational initiative
Officials would leave for Noida soon to trace the children’s parents. The children, aged between 11 and 14 years, are presently housed at Government Children’s Home at Muttikulangara as directed by the district-level Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
Meanwhile, the police are investigating the human trafficking angle. A case has already registered at Kozhinjampara police station against the society.
Its manager Aji Mathew George was arrested on Thursday and is now under judicial custody. The police would seek his custody for detailed interrogation.
Kozhinjampara Circle Inspector V. Hamza said there were 17 children in the group and three of them were shifted to Thiruvananthapuram before the police reached the rented house at Menonpara.
The three children too would be brought to Palakkad soon. Aji Mathew told police that the organisation had purchased five acres of land at Menonpara to set up a school. The plan, he claimed, was to enrol the children in the school.
However, he failed to produce any proof of Grace Care Society running an orphanage.
“If the children are destitute they should produce the no-objection certificate issued by the Child Welfare Committees of the respective villages. If the children have parents, they should produce a certificate from the village officer stating the parents had handed over the children to the child care home as they were unable to educate them. The society could not produce any documents in this regard,” said Mr. Hamza.
If they are orphans, the house where they are lodged should be approved by the Orphanage Control Board, he adds.