Pastor who ran illegal orphanage in Kathua sent to 7-day police remand
A local court in Kathua on Saturday sent pastor Thomas Antony to seven day police remand a day after the Jammu and Kashmir police and civil administration busted an illegal orphanage which he ran and rescued 19 children including eight girls.
Police have sealed the orphanage for investigation following allegations that the 62-year-old Antony had sexually abused the children.
The accused who is from Kerala, has been booked under section 376 (rape) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and J&K protection of children from sexual violence ordinance.
The investigation into the case will be conducted by deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Nikhil Rasgotra.
The rescued children belong to Gurdaspur in Punjab, Sanji Morh, Samba, Bari Brahmana and Jammu.
“The medical examination of the 19 rescued children which included eight girls was conducted at the Kathua district hospital late Friday night. Their medical reports are awaited,” Kathua deputy commissioner Rohit Khajuria told Hindustan Times.
The children have been shifted to Nari Niketan and Bal Ashram, he said.
“The children are under medical treatment. All the children were found to be suffering from scabies and we have given them new clothes,” he said.
The deputy commissioner further said, “Though serious charges of sexual abuse, torture and physical assault levelled by the children against the accused will be investigated by the police, they seem to be true”.
Khajuria also said that the accused had kept the children in a cellar at the rented accommodation where he was running the illegal orphanage.
“The orphanage had a modern kitchen and nothing suggested that the children were ever starved but he had kept them in a cellar,” said the DC.
Assistant commissioner (revenue) Jitendra Mishra, who had led the raid on Friday evening, said that the children will be restored to their families after proper verification.
Sources said that the orphanage was being run in Parliwand ward number 7 of Kathua town for the past four years.
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