State: Kerala's Orphanage Industry Under Cloud
As unprecedented protests against child trafficking shook Kerala, 119 Jharkhand children have been sent back to their native places last night from Palakkad. Children were put in two specially arranged AC coaches attached to the Ernakulam-Patna Express which departed on the night of June 10, 2014. Seventeen Kerala officials and six officials from Jharkhand are accompanying the children.
Social Welfare Department of the state released Rs 1 million for arranging the tickets and food for the children.
Seventeen children are below 5 and one is three months old told Jharkhand officials and informed that the children would undergo medical checkup once they reach Ranchi.
It has been reported that the investigation of Kerala Crime Branch will be expanded to Jharkhand. The National Human Rights Commission has also issued notices to Chief Secretaries and Director Generals of Police, both of Jharkhand and Kerlala, to submit reports on the alleged child trafficking to Kerala from other states. BJP is agitating against this illegal and anti social activity in Kerala. Prominent state BJP leader Shobha Surendran has met concerned union ministers in Delhi and submitted memorandum for proper enquiry in this regard.
Meanwhile,the first day of the Monsoon Session of the Kerala Assembly was disrupted by the CPM-led opposition on Monday. The parties were demanding proper investigation into the incident, saying some leaders of the ruling Muslim League were involved in the case.
The Opposition alleged that the probe into trafficking was derailed by the Muslim League with the help of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. The opposition also staged a walkout over the issue.
As many as 466 children without proper records were brought from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal on May 24 to orphanages run by Muslim organisations.
Last week Kerala High Court issued directions to the state government to investigate the incident to know the truth behind the child trafficking sans proper documents. It was in response to a PIL filed by an NGO. The direction came from a division bench comprising of chief justice and another senior judge.
—T Satisan from Kochi, Kerala