A team of Jharkhand Police from Chaibasa of West Singhbhum district has arrested the owner of illegal children’s home which was being run at Phullanwal of Ludhiana. Satyendra Prakash Musa (58), who was running Paksin Mary Cross Child Shelter Home in Phullanwal without getting it registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, was arrested late on Tuesday.
Musa was arrested on charges of illegal human trafficking and illegal religious conversion.
According to the probe being conducted by the team of Jharkhand Police, which was camping in Ludhiana since August 23, Musa also allegedly converted children to Christianity and gave them Christian names.
A total of 38 children were living at the shelter home of which only eight — four from different districts of Jharkhand and four from Bihar — were found when a raid was conducted on August 20. At least 30 children, all allegedly trafficked from Jharkhand, are yet to be traced. While Musa claims to have handed over the 30 missing children to their parents, the police are yet to verify his claims.
On August 20, the district administration of Ludhiana had raided the children’s home and sealed it. Eight rescued children were shifted to another government approved home in Doraha.
Earlier, a complaint was received by Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of Chaibasa from some parents of children from Jharkhand following which CWC, Ludhiana was directed to raid the home.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Sub Inspector Banarasi Ram, from anti-human trafficking wing of the Jharkhand Police, said, “We have arrested Musa after thorough probe. Thirty children are missing and Musa is claiming that he has handed them over to their parents, but he has failed to give us details of the same. All these thirty children are from Jharkhand. Also, children were being taught Christianity text and given new names. They were converted without even telling their parents. We will be taking Musa to Chaibasa as thirty children missing are from Jharkhand. We will be verifying that to whom they were handed over by Musa. Of eight children rescued, four are from Jharkhand too whom we will take along and give to their parents. A complaint was received by Chaibasa CWC following which this probe started. The home not registered under the Juvenile Justice Act and he is also not providing us details of the thirty children.”
The FIR against Musa has been registered at Chaibasa Sadar police station under Section 4 of Jharkhand Religious Freedom Act 2017, Section 42 of the Juvenile Justice Act, Section 5 of the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act and Section 370 (Trafficking of Persons) of IPC.
Sartaj Singh Chahal, ACP, South Ludhiana, meanwhile, said that Jharkhand Police will be taking Musa along for probe. “They will also take along records seized from shelter home to verify where are those 30 children,” he added.
The home was running for the past twelve years and Musa claims that parents themselves left children here as they were poor and could not afford their education.
In Jharkhand, police said that investigations in the case were still on and the team camping in Ludhiana was likely to return in a couple of days. Meanwhile, a hunt is on for another accused Junal Longa, a resident of Seengda village in Chaibasa.
Sadar Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Amar Kumar Pandey, said: “Our team had gone to Ludhiana in connection with the children trafficked from Chaibasa. An FIR was registered under sections pertaining to illegal human trafficking and illegal religious conversion. Following initial questioning, Musa has been arrested by our team. It would take a couple of days before the team reaches here. Meanwhile, we are also on the lookout for the other accused, Longa.”
Pandey said that the police team has been able to talk to only some children rescued by the CWC (Ludhiana). “Many aspects of the case that have come up during investigation require cross-check and verification, before we arrive at a conclusion. The whereabouts of the missing children is being ascertained. We will have to wait for some more time before we are in a position to unravel the entire modus operandi and other aspects of the case,” said Pandey.
CWC (West Singhbhum) member Jyotsna Tirkey said: “We came to know about some 30 children, trafficked from West Singhbhum, who were being kept in a shelter home in Ludhiana, allegedly illegally. We sent a police team there. They informed us that Musa was claiming to have returned those children to their parents – apparently without informing the CWC. Then, we asked the team to send a report of its findings, on the basis of which we got an FIR registered.”
Asked whether there have been initial evidence of Musa converting children to Christianity, Tirkey said: “Yes, the prima facie report sent by them mentioned these aspects. We require more detail on this and several other aspects. That is why we have lodged an FIR, so that the police can unravel the whole racket.”
(WITH INPUTS FROM ENS, RANCHI)