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7 more children of illegal Ludhiana shelter home found in Jharkhand

With this, 20 of the 30 children staying at Packiam Mercy Cross Child Shelter Home have been rescued. Seven of the 20 rescued children are girls.

punjab Updated: Sep 02, 2018 11:04 IST
Mohit Khanna
Mohit Khanna
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
Ludhiana shelter home,child trafficking,illegal trafficking
A view of Packiam Mercy Cross Child Shelter Home in Ludhiana.(HT Photo)

Jharkhand Police on Saturday traced seven more children who went missing from an illegal shelter home in Ludhiana recently. With this, 20 of the 30 children staying at Packiam Mercy Cross Child Shelter Home have been rescued. Seven of the 20 rescued children are girls.

West Singhbhum superintendent of police G Kranti Kumar said that Junool Loga, a former student of shelter home owner Satyandra Parkash Moses, alias Musa, 59, had brought 34 children from tribal families in the Maoist belt of Jharkhand to Ludhiana by train.

The four other children rescued from the shelter home are from Bihar.

Loga and Musa are in the Jharkhand police’s custody.

Musa is accused of converting the children to Christianity.

During interrogation, Loga said he brought 20 children from Chaibasa in West Singhbhum and the rest from Khunti area of Ranchi. He convinced the parents by promising them free food, lodging, education, clothes and money for their children.

“Catch them young was their plan. They targeted children who were five or six years old. The children were tutored in a religious environment. They were not allowed to interact with other children of the locality,” Kumar said.

Loga had studied at a private missionary school in Issa Nagri in Ludhiana and returned to Jharkhand in 2011 after which he began sending tribal children to Musa, who holds a master’s degree in education from Gaya in Bihar.

Tutored in Bible

When 15 of the rescued children were asked about living in the illegal shelter home, they said they were taught the Bible. Elder children cooked, while younger ones arranged for wood as fuel.

The nine inmates aged above 18 years also went missing after the shelter home at Phullanwal village on the outskirts of Ludhiana was declared illegal and closed. They were staying along with the 38 children.

The home is named after Mercy, the mother of Musa’s second wife Rajni. “The nine youngsters left because they feared they may be implicated in a false case and arrested,” Rajni said.

On August 9, the local child welfare committee (CWC) wrote to the Ludhiana deputy commissioner and the deputy director, women and child welfare department, Chandigarh, that the shelter home was unsafe for children. The CWC sought security for the children till they were shifted to a government-run shelter home.

No action followed till August 20 when the CWC visited the home only to find eight children. Musa claimed he had sent the 30 children to their families in Jharkhand. He was arrested on August 28.

Council of churches acting chairman K Koshy said, “Neither churches nor any Christian institution was associated with the shelter home. However, in my individual capacity, I maintain that Satyandra was serving humanity and an attempt is being made to tarnish the image of the Christian community.”

First Published: Sep 02, 2018 11:04 IST