Reacting sharply to Kerala government’s stand that bringing children from north India to orphanages in the state is human trafficking, Indian Union Muslim League leader E T Muhammed Basheer on Monday alleged that this was state government’s bid to prevent the functioning of institutes meant for destitute Muslim children. These orphanages are not involved in the sale of children for sexual exploitation or organ trade and the government should desist from oppressing them by raising procedural lapses, he said.
Orphanages in Kerala, particularly those run by Muslim organisations, have been bringing destitute Muslim boys and girls from other states, mainly for want of adequate number of orphans in the state. Many of these orphanages, like JDP Islam Orphanage, have over the years grown into hub of professional and technical institutes, increasing the demand for more inmates. Since children from other states are not eligible for government grant, the Orphanage Control Board and State Social Welfare Department have little grasp over the exact number of children from other states staying in Kerala’s 1,800-odd recognised orphanages.
Last Sunday, police charged adults accompanying 456 Muslim children from Bihar and Jharkhand — on their way to orphanages in Kozhikode and Malappuram — with human trafficking. Eight persons were taken in judicial custody, as they had no valid documents regarding the children.
On Sunday, state Home minister Ramesh Chennithala said bringing children to Kerala orphanages was human trafficking and it should be stopped. He asked the orphanage managements to go to other states and operate institutions instead of trafficking children to Kerala.
Muslim organisations, both religious and political, smelt ‘Hindutva’’ agenda behind Chennithala’s stand. All India Muslim Personal Law Board member Prof Alikutty Musaliyar said that Chennithala should not further Sangh Parivar agenda. Chennithala should understand that the flow of destitute children from north Indian states to Kerala orphanages reflect the failure of Congress rule in those states, said Musaliyar.
Meanwhile, Jharkhand government officials camping in Palakkad, where the children were offloaded last week, said trafficking of children should be probed by the CBI since the crime involved persons and institutions across different states.