The owner of a shelter home in Greater Noida, who was accused of forcible conversion and torturing underprivileged children, and his accomplice have been arrested, police said.
Police arrested the Emmanuel Seva Group’s Joshua Devraj alias Devraj Gaur and Bhola, under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code after questioning them on Sunday. They were produced before a court which then remanded the duo to 14-day judicial custody, police said.
“On Sunday, it was confirmed that the group was running the shelter homes illegally and was keeping the underprivileged children away from their parents in the name of better education. The rescued children had accused forcible conversion and lack of basic amenities and cleanliness at the shelter homes,” Ashwani Kumar, in-charge of Bisrakh police station, said.
Police said they have not found any legitimate document related to the organisation which has more than four ‘shelter homes’ spread across Meerut, Dehradun, Greater Noida and Delhi.
On December 28 last year, a mother of three children had approached FXB India Suraksha, an NGO, with a complaint that the shelter home was not allowing her to meet her children. The local police conducted raids on Emmanuel Seva Group’s shelter homes in Greater Noida and Meerut on December 29 and rescued 30 children who were allegedly kept under substandard condition.
“During their counselling, the rescued children had alleged that they were forced to eat cockroach-infested food, buffalo meat and were tortured for not reciting Bible hymns. Also, we found that they were kept in a substandard condition in a rodent infested accommodation,” Satyaprakash, FXB India Suraksha’s programme manager, said.
“A report regarding the raid has also been submitted to the district probation officer (DPO), which is to be submitted to the state government. We will ensure that the rescued children are in safe hands,” he added.
Following the raid, a case was registered at the Bisrakh police station and the police had sought documents regarding the legitimacy of the shelter home. Devraj had sent the documents to the police on Friday which were then sent to the government for verification, police said.