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Sumit Judeo | HENB | Ratlam | May 23, 2017:: In the last 24 hours, 71 tribal kids have been detained by police and railway authorities on the suspicion that they were being taken to Nagpur for religious conversion.
11 (Eleven) tribal children from Madhya Pradesh’s Alirajpur were stopped near Indore railway station by local police on Monday. Two of their escorts have also been arrested.
Choti Gwaltoli town police inspector Sanju Kamle claimed that all the children were Hindus and were being taken for conversion.
Nine suspected persons belonging to Christian faith were also booked for under the ‘Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act- 1968’ on Tuesday by Ratlam Government Railway Police while they were taking 60 (Sixty) tribal children to Nagpur. The GRP said the accused, including two women, were detained at Ratlam railway station by the Railway Protection Force after they reportedly received complaints about suspicious movement of the tribal children. The rescued children have been sent to shelter homes in Ratlam and Jaora.
GRP Police Station in-charge, Abhishek Gautam, told that police teams had been sent to Nagpur and Jhabua for verification after the accused claimed that the children were being taken to attend a summer camp.
“Sixty children, of which 28 are boys and 38 girls, were being taken from Jhabua via Megh Nagar to Ratlam on a train. On Sunday, the GRP questioned the children at Ratlam railway station as they had doubts about their presence,” Deputy Superintendent of GRP, Dhruvraj Singh Chauhan told IANS.
According to Chauhan, “The children were tricked in the name of a picnic and were being taken for a religious conversion to Nagpur, where some ceremony was being held by the Christian community. On Monday, nine persons were charged under IPC 363/34 and also under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1968.”
He said that eight persons were arrested on Tuesday and one is still absconding. The children were supposed to be taken from Ratlam to Nagpur, via Indore, by bus.
Chauhan said two persons, Amiya Pal from Thandla and Akhilesh from Ratlam, had major roles to play in the entire ploy.
“The parents were under the impression that their children were going to attend a camp but the actual purpose of the Nagpur visit was to read the Bible. There was a mismatch in the statements given by the accused,” GRP SP Krishnaveni Desavatu said on Tuesday. Till late on Monday, the GRP had said there was no evidence to back the allegation of forced religious conversion.
This comes after arrest of two persons from Indore on similar charges for taking 11 children to Nagpur. In all, 10 persons have been taken into custody and 71 tribal children rescued from Ratlam and Indore so far. 1 accused is still absconding as reported.
Police have asked the parents of the children to come over to Ratlam to shed some light on the whole episode.
Some right-wing groups continued to maintain that it was a case of religious conversion.
Vishva Hindu Parishad leader Sohan Viswakarma alleged that the children were being taken to Nagpur for conversion and demanded stern action against those involved in the incident.
__Input from IANS.