At least 18 tribal children of North Tripura were rescued from a Buddhist missionary in Bihar and brought back to Agartala on Friday evening. An official alleged that there were signs that they were tortured. Most of the children were sent to the Buddhist institution by their families to study two years ago, officials added.
Speaking to IndianExpress.com, an official of the Bihar Police, who accompanied the children back to Tripura, said they studied at an institution in Bihar which closed down two months back. The children were kept under protective care for a few days after being rescued and then brough back to their respective homes.
He added that some children from Assam were also rescued. They were handed over to authorities at the Guwahati Railway Station.
Minister for Health and Family Welfare Sudip Roy Barman reached Agartala Railway Station to receive the children on Friday evening. “Our children have returned to Tripura. It is a sigh of relief. The Department of Tribal Welfare will write to Bihar for proper investigation of the incident. We don’t want any child to go to other states without the knowledge of the state government. It is an eye-opener for all of us”, he said.
According to Tripura State Child Welfare Society chairperson Nilima Ghosh, there were signs of torture on the bodies. She also said the families had to pay money for their children’s education at the Buddhist mission-run school in Bihar.
“We have got reports that some people took money from parents of children for studies in Buddhist-run schools in Bihar. We were also informed that the children were tortured there. I have met them and seen them wearing unhygienic clothes and having torture signs on their person”, Ghosh said.
She added that she will discuss the matter with the health minister. She also assured that the children welfare society would soon take legal action on this issue.