Trafficking or conversion? 60 kids stopped on way to Nagpur
Nine people accompanying them were detained after they failed to give suitable reason for taking the children to NagpurUpdated: May 22, 2017 21:33 IST
Railway protection force (RPF) stopped 60 tribal children at Ratlam railway station in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday evening on suspicion that they were being trafficked or taken to Nagpur for religious conversion.
They also detained nine people accompanying the children.
The suspects, however, said the children were being taken to Nagpur for a cultural function and picnic as part of a summer camp with due permission of their parents.
Police was however not satisfied with their claim and detained them for further questioning.
RPF sources said even the children during questioning claimed they were on their way to a picnic in the Maharashtra city.
Police have asked the parents of the children to come over to Ratlam to shed some light on the whole episode.
Some right-wing groups, however, claimed that it was a case of conversion.
Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Sohan Viswakarma alleged children were being taken to Nagpur for conversion and demanded stern action against those involved in the incident.
Soon after the children were taken into protective custody on Sunday night, members of some right-wing groups also laid a siege at the RPF office.
Police, however, said it was not yet clear whether it was a case of conversion or trafficking.
“Nothing has been established yet. We are now just questioning these nine persons,” Krishnaveni Desavatu, SP GRP Indore, under which Ratlam falls, told HT over phone.
She said a police team was sent to Nagpur to verify the veracity of the claim of the suspects.
All the children are from Meghnagar in Jhabua district. Of them 28 are girls and 32 boys in the age group of 13 to 14 years.
They are now kept with the Childline India Foundation.
Police sources said the RPF acted on a tip-off from Childline’s Ratlam office that three to four children were being taken suspiciously to Nagpur from Jhabua.
“When we checked the train at the Ratlam station we found 60 children accompanying the nine persons,” said RPF’s Ratlam town inspector Rakesh Kumar.
“It’s not yet clear why the children were being taken to Nagpur,” he told HT over phone.
“The matter has been handed over to Government Railway Police (GRP) for further investigation,” he said. But no case has been registered as yet.
‘’We have asked the parents of the children to come here for questioning,” Kumar said.
He said the children will be with the Childline till the time their parents come to take them.
In-charge of the Childline’s Ratlam railway unit Rohini said the persons accompanying the children are neither their relatives nor their family members.
She said they alerted the police after an anonymous caller informed them that “some children from Jhabua were being taken to some place under suspicious conditions.”
First Published: May 22, 2017 17:25 IST