The Jharkhand Child Trafficking Row has intensified further with several angles emerging to it. Ranchi Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shyamanand Mandal said the two nuns of the Missionaries of Charity, who were arrested earlier in the day on charges of child trafficking, sold four babies. The nuns have been arrested in the Nirmal Hriday baby sale racket even as the district child welfare committee is mulling modalities to seal the Missionaries of Charity-run shelter that houses mentally challenged children, besides rescued girls. Sister Koshleniea, the in-charge of the rescued girls’ section who was detained, was formally arrested for her alleged complicity in selling a newborn boy to a childless couple from Uttar Pradesh.
This is the second arrest in the case after an employee of the shelter, Anima Indwar, was sent to judicial custody on Wednesday. The head of Nirmal Hriday’s Jail Road branch, Sister Meridian (not Nirmala as reported), is still being grilled. The nuns were arrested earlier in the day in Jharkhand on charges of trafficking underage tribal girls.
Members of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Ranchi and the police interrogated the nuns at the premises of Missionaries of Charity, “Nirmal Hriday” on July 4, after an FIR was lodged on grounds of trafficking underage tribal girls. Speaking to NDTV , Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas of Ranchi has called this
controversy a case of “systemic maligning” and said that he has spoken to nuns, who confirmed of being pressurized by police. He said, “The nun has told their lawyer that she was made to sign under force. She was pressurized… The sisters are absolutely innocent. I am appealing to all, allow them to do their work in peace.” He further added, “The First Information Report seems to have accused the Sister of being responsible for baby sale… I want to make it absolutely clear that a whole organisation cannot be maligned for one or two people”. Criticising the manner in which investigation is being conducted, he said that the police is ‘treating the whole of Mother Teresa’s organisation as a criminal gang’.
As state’s Child Welfare Committee officials accompany the police for the searches, Mascarenhas was of the opinion that nuns are being harassed in the name of investigation, as these nuns barely face press or police, reports NDTV. On the other hand, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has directed the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to investigate all such shelter homes by August 15. the We reached out to the ADG(Ops)Jharkhand police R K Mallick, who said, ” We have ample proof against the nuns and the charity that the crime was committed and children were sold off to childless couples. It is not a story that has been cooked up. The children were indeed trafficked and sold and the ones accused will be charged under the necessary penal codes. The locals are finally accepting the police reports about the child trafficking case. We have no idea if this is a conspiracy or not, as alleged, but we know for a fact that the innocent children have been rescued from the traffickers. ” On asked if similar charges have been levied against the Missionaries Of Charity, previously, Mallick asked us to to talk to CWC directly.
The Live Mirror also reached out to Kamil Manmod Dhan, Assistant Professor, Sociology, St. Xavier’s College Ranchi, “Earlier police said that 280 children were sold, but now have no proof for it. Now they are saying there were only 3-4 children. For me the whole investigation is questionable, as a third party’s involvement is suspected in the case. How can the nuns do it when they do not contact outside people? I feel there is a conspiracy being involved to malign the good work of Missionaries in Jharkhand. Even the political party (BJP) is involved and what reports are coming out are motivated and biased.”