Another orphanage horror: Kids rescued from illegal institute in Kathua complain of torture, abuse by Father
Children have levelled allegations of sexual abuse, torture and physical assault against accused father Thomas AntonyUpdated: Sep 08, 2018 13:26 IST
The Jammu and Kashmir police and Kathua civil administration on Friday evening raided an illegal orphanage being run by a missionary in Kathua town and rescued 20 children including eight girls.
Some of the children levelled serious allegations of sexual abuse, torture and physical assault against father Thomas Antony who was running the orphanage in a rented accommodation.
“This evening Kathua deputy commissioner Rohit Khajuria asked us to raid an orphanage in Parliwand ward number 7 in Kathua town and accordingly we sought help of the police. We found 20 children including eight girls. All of them are aged between 5 to 15 years,” said assistant commissioner (revenue) Jitendra Mishra.
Mishra further said father Thomas Antony told us that he had been running the orphanage in liaison with Pentecostal Mission in Pathankot.
Orphanage has no name
There was no board or hoarding suggesting the name or existence of an orphanage in the rented accommodation.
“When we checked with the Pentecostal Mission in Pathankot, they outrightly denied any permission to such an orphanage in Kathua. The accused had been running the orphanage in a rented accommodation and the accommodation had no board or hoarding to suggest that it was a duly registered orphanage,” the ACR said.
He informed that the rescued children, who have been shifted to Bal Ashram and Nari Niketan in Kathua town, levelled serious allegations of sexual abuse, torture and physical assault at the orphanage.
“They belong to Gurdaspur in Punjab, Sanji Morh, Samba, Bari Brahamana and Jammu. When we checked, we found out that some of them had single parent. We have asked their families to come on Saturday,” the official said.
During the raid, “We found out that there was no female warden at the orphanage and came to know that Thomas Antony’s wife has gone home to Kerala,” said Mishra.
The official said that medical examination of the children will also be conducted.
“We have recorded the statements of the children and the accused has been taken into custody by the police,” the official said.
SSP received a tip-off
Kathua senior superintendent of police (SSP) Shridhar Patil, who is currently outside the state, said, “I came to know that there was an orphanage which was being run without registration and hence district administration led by ACR along with lady officers conducted the raid.”
After they submit a report, the legal aspect will be acted upon by the police, he added.
The SSP said that he also heard about charges of sexual abuse against the accused Thomas Antony but refused to make any comment till investigations were conducted.
“Till the time things don’t settle down, there are apprehensions of harm to his life and going by the charges, we need to question him and if required, will go for his arrest. So, both the aspects have to be looked into,” he said.