Cops suspect 14 Noida kids in Kerala were trafficked
Saji Kumar, the station house officer of Kozhinjampara police station, told HT that he received calls from residents of Menonpara a week ago, about 14 children being locked inside a house.noida Updated: May 24, 2017 10:42 IST
After Kerala Police claimed to have rescued 14 children from Noida in Palakkad, who were allegedly trafficked by a non-governmental organisation, the city police will approach the state child welfare committee to investigate the matter.
Saji Kumar, the station house officer of Kozhinjampara police station, told HT that he received calls from residents of Menonpara a week ago, about 14 children being locked inside a house.
Kumar said the children were frightened and did not speak much. “Only two children could speak and they told us that they are from Noida. We took them to a shelter home of child welfare committee (CWC) and an investigation is in progress. CWC has taken the responsibility to send them back to Noida after tracking their addresses,” said Saji Kumar.
A case under Section 370 (trafficking) has been registered at Kozhinjampara police station. The children were brought to Kerala by a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation Grace Care Society, which also has an office in Sector 78 of Noida.
Kumar said a man identified as Aju Mathew was with accompanying the children in Palakkad. He told the police that the children were on a tour and his NGO is educating them.
“I asked him to show us certificates issued by Noida and Kerala officials but he did not have any of them. I asked him for the consent letter but he failed to produce one. It is a grave matter that requires legal documents. We rescued the children and the person was sent to judicial custody,” said Saji Kumar.
The children are aged between 11 and 14 years and have been sent to shelter home at Muttikulangara on the orders of CWC.
V Hamza, the circle inspector of Kozhinjampara, said,“The NGO has been informed in this regard. So far, no one has come forward to show us legal documents to claim responsibility of the children.”
He said that they are also investigating if there were more children in the group.
Meanwhile, the senior superintendent of police, Gautam Budh Nagar, Love Kumar said, “We have not been contacted by Kerala Police in this matter. We will get in touch with the officials concerned and help them reunite the children with their families. The role of the NGO will also be investigated.”
Jose M Raju, the general secretary of Grace Care Society, said that the NGO has all registration certificates and their manager Aju Mathew has been falsely implicated. Raju said that the children are from slums of Noida and they are being educated for free in Coimbatore, with the consent of their parents.
“Parents gave us their consent to educate their children and we admitted them to a charity school, Sri L Dharma Kannan Vidyalaya, Madukkarai, Coimbatore, last June. At present, they have summer vacations and they were taken to Kerala. I do not understand how one can mistake it for trafficking,” said Raju.
He said the NGO is working to prove its claims and will get in touch with the police and CWC. “We want the police to probe it and verify our claims. They can also meet the parents who gave us their consent. Before sending them to Coimbatore, we also contacted the CWC but they said we do not require certificates as parents have given their consent,” Raju said.
People who have complained to police are fanatics and the allegations are baseless, he said.
First Published: May 23, 2017 22:40 IST