Twenty-eight children hailing from Leh were rescued here by police and six members of an NGO were arrested for allegedly kidnapping them for "religious conversion", a senior official said on Sunday.
"Twenty-eight children of Leh, below 14 years of age, who had been forcibly brought here by an NGO with the view to convert them to Christianity, were rescued by the police from a hostel here on Saturday," the police officer said.
While six members of the NGO 'Sunehara Kal' have been arrested, three others are absconding, police said, adding, a case of kidnapping has been registered against them under various sections of the IPC.
The children, 24 boys and four girls, were rescued after a police team carried out a raid at the hostel taken on rent by NGO at Dograhall area of the city, police said.
The six arrested persons have been identified as Vikas Sharma (Chairman of the NGO), Ranjana Sharma, Bua David and Sukhdev Masih, Gagandeep Singh (General Secretary) and his wife Meenakshi (Manager), police said.
After initially being taken into police custody, the children have been shifted to the state government's Ladakh hostel on the direction of the state Juvenile Board from where they will be handed over to their parents and the Ladakh Buddhist Association.
According to police, the members of the NGO went to Leh and distributed aid such as blankets among the victims of the cloudburst. Later, they forcibly shifted the children here about a fortnight ago with a view to convert them.
Police had recorded statements of the parents of some of the children before the court in which they had stated that their children had been taken away without their consent.
Some members of the NGO were also involved earlier in conversions for which a case had been registered against them, police said.