Amid outrage over the alleged inter-state child trafficking racket busted in Kerala, investigators have found that the parents of the rescued children were given Rs 1,000 each for allowing their kids to be put into orphanages in the coastal state.
"During investigation, probe agencies have learnt that parents of the children were given Rs 1,000 each to allow their kids to put into orphanages," said SN Pradhan, additional director general of police, crime investigation department (CID), Jharkhand.
Pradhan added that a Bihar-based organisation used to take minors aged between 3 years and 15 years from rural areas of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal to Kerala.
Another CID officer revealed that all the minors who had been trafficked to Kerala were Muslims.
"The reason behind taking children of the minority community is that they were to be put in orphanages run by the Muslims there," said the officer.
Meanwhile, the Jharkhand government brought back 135 children.
A state government team along with a local NGO reached Deogarh with the children on Wednesday by the Patna-Ernakulam Express.
Official sources said the children will be handed over to their parents within a week.
The 135 minors, along with 331 others, were rescued from various railway stations in Kerala by the Railway Protection Force late last month.
Labour commissioner Manish Ranjan led the state government team sent to Kerala after the matter came to light.
A 17-member team of the Kerala Police has also come down to the state to carry out their probe.
The Kerala Police first suspected foul play after members of the state child welfare committees communicated with students of the orphanages in the state and learnt that the maximum number of 'orphans' were from the Hindi speaking belt.
The Kerala Police have arrested a middleman allegedly having association with the Bhagalpur-based organisation.
He has reportedly told the investigating agencies that they had been taking minors from the three states to Kerala from last seven years.