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Rescued children reunited with families
IMPHAL, Feb 9 Correspondent
Published on 10 Feb. 2010 12:13 AM IST
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Altogether 19 children from Manipur who were rescued from an unregistered children’s home in Chennai were reunited with their families on Tuesday. Officials of the Manipur social welfare department brought back the 19 children to Imphal and were handed over to their respective families Tuesday in the presence of social welfare minister, N Loken. The children were rescued from Ritz Home and Children Care Home, Chennai last weekend. The children belonging to below poverty line families were taken there on the pretext of providing free education but were not given any kind of education or facilitated to go to schools. Narrating their ordeal, the 19 rescued children said they were given good food and treated well during the first two days but the treatment totally changed all of a sudden from the third day onwards. A 13-year old Abethoi (not real name) of Imphal west said they were treated by the home like their own children on the first two days but the atmosphere suddenly changed from the third day where they were asked to do various works according to orders. Abethoi said they were forced to cook, wash clothes and those who disobey were beaten up badly. She also showed scar marks on her body. One of her seniors was even molested on several occasions by the Pastor who called her in a separate room. Abethoi said they felt helpless as everybody was cruel to them and there was none to hear their complaints. The son of the pastor was crueler to them than the others, she revealed. Abethoi said the senior whom she referred to was not among the rescued children. May be she was transferred somewhere before they were rescued, Abethoi assumed. Asked whether any kind of sexual harassment was meted out to her, Abethoi broke down. She was among the 10 girls who were rescued along with nine minor boys. Some of the rescued children appeared abnormal while their facial expressions indicated that they still felt unsafe. One of the boys who was limping said a day before they were rescued, the son of the pastor beat up him for not doing a work he was asked to perform. “I was badly beaten up for not being able to perform the task given to me by the son of pastor,” the boy said adding that he suffered from fever on that day. The rescued children said they were served sub-standard foods not feed for human consumption. The children were sent to Chennai believing that they would be given good education as promised by those who took them, said a mother of one of the children. “We sent our son only for the sake of good education as we hardly expect getting good education here where protests, agitation, bandh, blockades and other forms of violence are witnessed everyday,” she said. She said they have still the capacity to send the children to school despite all odds but was not optimistic of getting proper education in such atmosphere. The 19 children, all from Imphal west and Bishnupur districts reached Imphal on Monday. After medical check-up yesterday itself the children were handed over to their respective families Tuesday at Imphal. Manipur social welfare minister, N. Loken appealed the parents not to send their wards outside the state under any condition without consulting the officials of the state social welfare department lest misfortune befell their wards. It may be mentioned that 76 boys from Assam and Manipur were rescued from an unregistered children’s home in Kanyakumari district on January 24. The children were rescued from Bedesta Blessing Home, which lacked both adequate infrastructure and enough food to feed the children.

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