THE INDORE Police on Monday arrested two men for allegedly taking 11 tribal children from Alirajpur to Nagpur for ‘religious conversion’, while making them believe that they are off to a summer camp. The Chhoti Gwaltoli Police have booked Alpesh Gadva, 27, from Jhabua and Harun Dawar, 20, from Alirajpur under the MP Freedom of Religion Act Section 3,4 and also Section 363 of Indian Penal Code (punishment for kidnapping) since the minors were taken “without the parents’ consent”. “If the parents say they were aware, we will remove the kidnapping charge,” said police station in-charge Sanju Kamle.
According to police, the two along with 11 children had to board a bus to Nagpur from Sarawate Bus Stand. However, they missed the bus and Alpesh called his neighbours to ask if he could take the children to the house he had rented in Indore. One of the neighbours, Manohar Morne, then came up to the bus stand and found it suspicious when the children told him that they were being taken to read the Bible while the suspects claimed that they were headed for a summer camp, said police, adding that acting on the neighbour’s tip-off, the police arrested the two from the bus stand. Meanwhile, the Government Railway Police in Indore are yet to file an FIR after rescuing 60 children from Ratlam Railway Station on Sunday night.
The Railway Protection Force had detained nine people accompanying the children, who were on their way from MP’s Jhabua to Nagpur, after doubts were expressed about the possible “religious conversion” of the children. The 60 children included 28 girls and 32 boys. While the boys were taken to a shelter home in Ratlam, the girls were eventually shifted to a shelter home in Jaora on Monday.