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Orphaning the innocents

Orphaning the innocents

Few months back on May 24, 589 children below the age of 12 and belonging to states of Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal were detained by the Railway Protection Force at the Palaghat Railway station.

The incident created an uproar with the politicians, Human Rights groups and the social justice department calling it a case of child trafficking. The issue since then had snowballed into a big controversy bringing the orphanages run by charity trusts under heavy scrutiny. The children who had come to the state in search of decent education and lives were sent back to their homes and were alleged to have no proper documents like the admission papers and certificates related to birth and age. The family members of the children who had been working in the state were also detained and then sent back. The children were supposed to be admitted to Mukkam Muslim Orphanage in Kozhikode and Vettathur Anwarul Orphanage in Malappuram. The Child Welfare Committee officials upheld human rights and child right issues along with the Home department and other social outfits in the state actively involving in the matter. The Sangh Parivar and the main stream media played up the issue well tainting it with communal colors, terrorism links and even bringing out a Karachi connection. In Northern Indian states, the parents in rural areas could not provide their children with proper education due to poverty and retort to sending them away for a better life.

Eight persons were arrested of which two of them are still in Viyyur prison under non bailable offence. Others have been left free under the condition to be present when ever called upon and are not permitted to leave the state. A demand for a CBI inquiry was filed in the Supreme Court that appointed amicus query to probe the matter. But it dismissed off the need for a CBI investigation on October 31st saying that the children were brought to the state with the consent of their parents for education and better facilities. A petition was filed in the High Court regarding the issue and the Bihar government had maintained that the instances of children being brought to orphanages in Kerala from that State did not amount to child trafficking as they came with their parent’s consent for better food education and shelter that was offered free.

The people responsible instead of giving explanations are keeping silence over the issue. Those who were in forefront tarnishing the image of the orphanages, igniting hatred against the minority communities, imposing non bailable charges on the innocents, the media who had an active role all through and the social justice department who stood as a silent witness to all the events, should all be apologizing to the accused and their families. The government is equally responsible as well and should adopt steps to bring justice to the children who trudged a long distance in search of education and a far more better lives.

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