Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has ordered a comprehensive probe in the functioning of all shelters run by charitable foundations in the state after a shocking child sale racket tumbled out of a shelter for pregnant unwed women run by the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) in Ranchi last week. Das on Sunday ordered a thorough probe into the affairs of all such homes and shelters in Jharkhand, most of which are run by Christian missionary organisations.
The prod for the probe came after the former head of Jharkhand’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Dr O P Singh, revealed that he had received similar allegations against the shelter run by MoC, an order founded by Mother Teresa (as the controversial Albanian Catholic nun Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was popularly known as), in Ranchi. But, claimed Singh, his attempt to probe the allegations in 2014 were stonewalled and he was then removed from the post.
“The (MoC) shelter's manager created such a ruckus... shut the doors on me to block the investigation,” Dr Singh told TV channels in Ranchi.
NDTV quotes Singh as saying that he complained to the social welfare and child development department but nobody was interested to go into the allegations. And when he persisted, Dr Singh said he was edged out of the post and a probe reportedly conducted found nothing wrong.
Many other allegations of illegal sale of children born to unwed mothers in shelters run by charities have now surfaced in Jharkhand. Meanwhile, Sister Meridian, the head of the MoC shelter in Ranchi, which is in the centre of the raging controversy, has been released on personal bond after being detained for three days. She has been asked to appear at a local police station for further questioning. But another MoC nun - Sister Koshleniea - has been arrested for her involvement in selling a baby to a Uttar Pradesh-based couple for Rs 1.2 lakh. An employee of the shelter, Anima Indwar, has also been arrested.
Christian missionaries run a number of shelters for unwed and pregnant ladies, destitute women and orphans and abandoned children in Jharkhand, especially in the backward adivasi-majority areas of the state. Allegations of child trade and trafficking and proselytisation have been raised against them many times in the past.
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