The Jharkhand Police on Saturday identified and rescued seven more children who went missing from an illegal shelter home in Ludhiana in Punjab, reported The Indian Express. A total of 20 children, out of the 30 living at Paksin Mary Cross Child Shelter Home, have been rescued so far.
The action came days after the Jharkhand Police arrested the children’s home owner in Phullanwal village in Ludhiana under the Juvenile Justice Act for running it without registration. Satyendra Prakash Musa, 58, was also accused of human trafficking and illegal religious conversion.
West Singhbhum Superintendent of Police G Kranthi Kumar confirmed that 20 children were rescued and are now with their families. “Our teams are doing physical verification of each one of them and going to their homes to check if they have reached their actual parents,” said Kumar, adding that physical verification of 16 of them has been done. The police will also photograph the rescued children for their records.
The police are also trying to get the names and addresses of the 10 missing children. “They are being procured from Ludhiana by one of our officers who is on the way,” said Kumar. “Once he reaches, we will verify.”
The police also arrested Junal Longa, a resident of Seengda village in Chaibasa, who was the alleged middleman. Longa was a former student of Musa’s and allegedly brought 34 children to Ludhiana, reported the Hindustan Times. Of these, 20 were from Chaibasa in West Singhbhum and the others from Ranchi’s Khunti area. Longa allegedly promised their parents that the children would be provided food, accommodation, education, clothes, and money.
Musa and Longa looked for younger children, aged five or six years. “Catch them young was their plan,” Kumar told the Hindustan Times. “The children were tutored in a religious environment. They were not allowed to interact with other children of the locality.”
The police found no proof of the children being physically or sexually abused, Kumar told The Indian Express. “They were not being ill-treated or sexually exploited,” he said. “They were being sent to a regular school but also being taught Bible and other Christian texts.”