MEERUT: In a case of suspected child trafficking and conversion, 23 children in the 5-14 age group were rescued from a children’s home called Emmanuel Seva Group in Meerut’s Shastri Nagar on Wednesday afternoon. The children claimed to have two names – one which their parents gave them and the other a Christian name the home’s director gave them in Dehradun “after reading a Bible”.
Asked about the incident, DS Sirohi, station officer, said, “As of now, statements of the children are being taken by members of the Child Welfare Committee. Once that’s done, the district probation officer will file an FIR in the matter.” The home, which has been running for the last one-and-half years, also did not have any registration as prescribed in Supreme Court guidelines under the Juvenile Justice Act, according to officials. The raid was conducted after activists working with NGO Child Line received a tip-off from their Noida counterparts.
“Nootan Prajapati, a Delhi resident, had given her two daughters to a home in Delhi. She was promised she could have them back once she had a home to live in, but was later told the girls had been transferred to a shelter in Noida and that she had to pay Rs 1.5 lakh to get each daughter back,” said Anita Rana, director, Child Line. “Prajapati complained to Child Line and a raid was done at Emmanuel Seva Home.”
The Seva Group has its headquarters in Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh and has two other Noida addresses. The director is Devraj Gowda, whose wife Anita was present at the children’s home when the raid took place. While the duo denied charges of converting the children to Christianity, the children themselves had another story to narrate.
“Running a children’s home without registration is indeed illegal but if these people have all the documents in place and get a registration, they will be allowed to run. But if the conversion angle is proved, necessary investigation will be done against them. As of now, the children have been sent to the Child Welfare Committee to record their statements. Only after that will a case be registered,” said district probation officer Pushpendra Kumar
Times of India
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