A raid in an illegally run shelter home at Pokhrebung on Friday has revealed shocking facts.
A 14-year-old pregnant girl was found to be pregnant, while as many as 18 girls of the age 4-16 were found missing from it. The shelter home, that does not have a licence, has been sealed on Friday. The owner is absconding.
Based on a complaint by the District Child Welfare Committee indicating woman and child trafficking, the local police raided the shelter home and rescued the pregnant girl who was admitted to a hospital in Darjeeling town. Of the 21 names in the register of the home, three girls aged four, nine and 18 were rescued from neighbours. Police fear the missing 18 girls may have been trafficked.
According to police sources, as many as 12 girls under the age of six were transferred from the Sukhiapokhri home to school teacher-turned-alleged trafficker Chandana Chakraborty’s shelter homes in Jalpaiguri in the past six months. Police fear that the Darjeeling shelter home may also be part of Chandana’s chain of supply for children and women for trafficking.
Taking a stern stance after Friday’s raid, the Darjeeling district administration has sought reports from all the shelter homes of the district regarding the details of children being sent for adoption. They have also been issued notices to get themselves registered or risk getting sealed. Incidentally, there are no government shelter homes in Darjeeling district. A total of 947 children stay in 35 private shelter homes in the district, of which 10 do not have a licence, sources revealed.
District Superintendent of Police Amit P Javalgi said that an investigation into the case and search for the shelter home’s owner has been launched. District Magistrate Anurag Srivastava has sought reports from Child Protection Committee and Child Welfare Committee over the issue.
Six minor girls, two of whom were pregnant, were rescued during a Crime Investigation Department raid on one the shelter homes run by Chandana Chakraborty in Jalpaiguri on Wednesday night.
With inputs from Indian Express, In pic: Chandana Chakraborty kingpin of child trafficking ring.