Over 50 children rescued: Christian pastor arrested
Police in Rajasthan state raided two unlicensed shelters for children, rescuing 51 children and arresting the Christian pastor who ran the institutions, according to local police.
Pastor Jacob John was detained under provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act relating to the violation of child rights for not maintaining hygienic standards at the homes, but police said there were no signs the children had been trafficked.
Police and officials from the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights took into custody 27 tribal girls from Grace Home in the provincial capital Jaipur, while 24 boys were taken from a similar home nearby. The children’s ages ranged between five and 17, police said.
Ghagwan Lal Soni, a senior police official in Jaipur, said both houses were operating without required legal permission, and that most of the children were from outside the state but had not been trafficked to Jaipur.
The commission had watched the girls’ home for about a month, following complaints from the parents of children who had previously lived in Grace Home.
The girls’ home was poorly lit and filled with rotting vegetables and empty liquor bottles, commission member Govind Beniwal said.
Children also had no access to trained teachers and instead were taught by elder children in the home. Residents were also rarely seen outside the home, Beniwal added.
Officials said the children came largely from poor families in Manipur, Nagaland and Assam and that Pastor John had brought them with the promise of food, education and lodging.
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