Ludhiana illegal shelter home: 3 children still missing, ‘evidence of conversion to Christianity’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/ludhiana-illegal-shelter-home-3-children-still-missing-evidence-of-conversion-to-christianity-5346995/

Ludhiana illegal shelter home: 3 children still missing, ‘evidence of conversion to Christianity’

Of the 30 children whom owner Satyendra Prakash Musa (58), owner of Packiam Mercy Cross Children’s Shelter Home at Ludhiana claimed to have handed over to their parents without informing Child Welfare Committee (CWC), 27 have been traced till now. 

Ludhiana illegal shelter home: 3 children still missing, evidence of conversion to Christianity
The shelter home was sealed last month. (Express photo)

The Jharkhand police is still trying to trace three ‘missing’ children who were ‘handed over to their parents’ by the illegal shelter homeowner in Ludhiana. Of the 30 children whom owner Satyendra Prakash Musa (58), owner of Packiam Mercy Cross Children’s Shelter Home at Ludhiana claimed to have handed over to their parents without informing Child Welfare Committee (CWC), 27 have been traced till now.

Speaking to The Sunday Express, G Kranthi Kumar, Superintendent of Police (SP), West Singhbhum, Jharkhand, said, “We have successfully traced 27 of the 30 children that Musa had handed over to their parents without informing police or CWC. But addresses of three are still not available. We have also checked all the records that we procured from shelter home. While names of these three children are there in attendance register, their addresses are missing due to which we are facing difficulty in locating their homes in tribal areas.”

Five of them were also found in Ludhiana as their parents work as agricultural labourers in Punjab. On August 20, when Ludhiana administration sealed this shelter home which was being run illegally (without mandatory registration under Juvenile Justice Act) in Phullanwal of Ludhiana, 8 children were rescued.

“For us they are missing only till we do not confirm that they have reached their parents safely. We cannot believe Musa’s claims as we do not know who took children away,” said SP, adding that Jharkhand police will be bringing Musa and his accomplice Junal Longa into custody for further interrogation.

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“Musa and Longa are claiming that they do not know the addresses of three missing kids. But we will trace them soon,” said SP.

The magisterial probe (copy of the report with The Indian Express) done by Ludhiana Additional deputy commissioner (ADC) is silent on religious conversions whereas Jharkhand police has booked Musa for allegedly converting children to Christianity under the section 4 of Jharkhand Religious Freedom Act, 2017.

On this SP Kumar said, “Yes, we have evidence due to which this Act has been used in the FIR. Small children who believe in Sarna faith of their tribe were being exposed to Christianity text like Bible and other doctrines. The classes for this Christian text were not missed for even a single day. There is no other implication of making small children study Christian text. Still, the matter is being probed.

Neighbours have also told CWC that children used to cry often and they used to hear weird shrills and cries from the home.” Further, in the magisterial probe, parents of five children have said in their statements that they ‘did not pay any money to Musa’ and he was ‘keeping their children free of cost and providing school education to them.’

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