TODAY -
Authority caught in frenzy on rescue of state children in Chennai
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Thingnam Anjulika Samom

Imphal, January 25 2010: Authorities in Manipur are caught in frenzy following the news of more than 70 children from the state being rescued after being trafficked and kept in illegal confinement in Tamil Nadu.

Altogether 17 children from Bishnupur district were rescued by Child Welfare Committee Chennai from a house in Sholinganallur, while as many as 54 children Tamenglong district were rescued from another unauthorized home at Tirunelveli junction in Tamil Nadu.

According to a newsreport in the Chennai edition of The Hindu, seventy-six boys in the age of 5 to 15 from Assam and Manipur being kept in a small room of an unapproved orphanage near Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu were rescued on Saturday night last by a special team.

The team consisted of Palayamkottai Juvenile Home Officer Shakila Bhanu and Probationary Officer, Kanyakumari, K.Thirumavalavan, as well as state police personnel.

The orphanage called 'Bethesda Blessing Home' was being run by one Shaji of Kaarakonam in Kanyakumari district.

All 54 among the rescued children hailing from Manipur belonged to Aben, Tousem, Mandeu, Npaningdi, Taningjam, Namtiram, Magulong, Npakang and Nniam villages of Tamenglong district.

The other 22 children are from Assam.

All of them are presently being housed at Saranaalayam, a home for orphans and destitute women run by Roman Catholic Missionaries.

The raid on Bethesda Blessing Home comes close on the heels of another raid in Sholinganallur on Wednesday last in which 17 children (including girls) from Bishnupur district of Manipur were rescued.

According to Dr P Manorama, chairman of the Tamil Nadu Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the children were malnourished, with signs of being beaten up.

There were strong suspicions that some of the girls might have faced sexual harassment.

They had reached Chennai on July 28, 2009 after which an NGO, Reach Home Children Foundation, had locked them up in a small room of a house in Mogappair.

Following newsreports regarding the two rescue mission, authorities of the Manipur Social Welfare Department, as well as state Child Welfare Committee and Childline, Manipur had a marathon meeting today to discuss the emerging situation as well as to delineate possible measures to curb such activities in the future.

Speaking to this correspondent, State Social Welfare Director SK Sharma stated that the department is inquiring into the matter as they also came to know about it only through the press reports.

"We have sent a request to the Commissioner of the Department of Social Defence, Tamil Nadu as well as to the Childline Foundation Chennai for details, and we are awaiting for their reply," he said.

He further appealed to all parents and guardians to first cross-check and verify the institution as well as to contact the Social Welfare Department if they are planning to send their wards for any course or study outside the state.

A notification in this regard has also been issued by the department today asking the general public as well as other stakeholders to report any suspicious case that might be linked to trafficking of children.

The notification further mentioned that transfer of children for admission to children's home/institutions or for availing free education outside the state, without prior permission from the state Social Welfare department, or Child Welfare Committee at the district level is illegal and punishable as per the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000 as amended in 2006 .


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