A woman employee and incharge of a shelter home for minor girls run by Missionaries of Charity in Ranchi’s Kotwali have been arrested for alleged involvement in selling children. The Ranchi unit of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has referred the matter to police and an FIR has been registered.
Missionaries of Charity Superior General Sister Prema Friday issued a statement that the Kolkata headquarters was “shocked” and that they are looking into the matter. On Friday, the CWC took into its custody 13 minor girls and 22 children lodged in two centres run by Missionaries of Charity.
Anima Indwar, an employee at the East Jail Road centre of Nirmal Hriday, run by Missionaries of Charity, and its centre incharge Sister Concelia have been arrested. SP, City, Aman Kumar said: “Another sister was questioned, but let off after her role was not established. The CWC has recorded the statement of the couple who complained about the matter.” Kumar said persons who bought the children illegally would also be treated as accused.
On July 3, Saurav and Preeti Agrawal from UP’s Sonebhadra district approached the CWC with a complaint that Indwar, who allegedly sold them a newborn boy in May, had taken back the child on the pretext of completing court formalities and had returned him. The complainant said they bought the child for Rs 1.20 lakh. Ranchi CWC chief Rupa Verma said, “When we questioned Indwar, she admitted to having sold the child.”
According to CWC officials, Indwar had admitted in writing that she sold two more children to couples in Morabadi and Kanta Toli in Ranchi for Rs 50,000 each, said officials. Indwar also said she had done it with the help of Sister Concelia, the officials said.
“We seized the register at the centre and found that the girl, who gave birth to the child that was sold to the couple, was brought in months ago, but this was not reported to the CWC. As per norms, any child or girl brought to a shelter home has to be reported to the CWC and any adoption done according to Central Adoption Resource Authority guidelines. Any other method is illegal,” said Verma.
She said their inquiry had revealed that the couple got the child in May and took it to Sonebhadra. Towards June-end, Indwar called up the couple and said some court formalities have to be completed. “When the couple reached here, she took the child. When Indwar did not return the child despite repeated demands, the couple went to the CWC,” said Verma.
“The couple have produced an affidavit, claiming that they had went through legal processes while taking the child. But, as per norms, it is illegal,” said Verma.
On the other hand, she said, the child’s biological mother has said she wanted the child back and was ready to return the Rs 90,000 she got. “Both the women want the child. But the child is with us. We can’t give it to any of them after these revelations. We will complete our inquiry and make recommendations, which may include black-listing the centre.”
The statement by Sister Prema said, “We are completely shocked by what has happened in our home. It should never have happened and it is completely against our moral convictions. We are carefully looking into this matter and we will take all necessary precautions to ensure that such an episode should never happen again, if it has. We did not know anything about the incident.”
Missionaries of Charity also said they are ready to co-operate in the probe. “But first let us know actually what happened there,” said spokesperson Sunita Kumar.
-With ENS, Kolkata