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21 Jamtara kids return home
- No rehab plan yet in absence of trafficking charge

Ranchi, June 26: Twenty-one children from Jharkhand’s Jamtara district, who were rescued during a raid at an allegedly unauthorised orphanage at Kollam in Kerala around two weeks ago, returned home today amid questions of their rehabilitation.

The minors — all boys aged between 10 and 16 years — arrived by Patna-Ernakulam Express at Chittaranjan station, about 15km from the Jamtara district headquarters, around 2pm. Officials from Kerala had accompanied them in a special coach. Jamtara social welfare officer Javed Idrisi and other officials received the kids and escorted them to the district headquarters, where they underwent medical check-up and were handed over to their parents by 7pm.

“Parents of the children have come to take them home as per our instruction. It will help us conduct an on-spot verification of their background and other details before handing over the children. Vehicles have been arranged to drop them home,” Idrisi said.

A total of 23 children were found living in “unhealthy surroundings” at Perayam Jamaliya Arabic College in Kollam, allegedly an illegal orphanage, during a raid by Kerala officials on June 10. Two were from Malda district in Bengal.

The raid came around 20 days after over 250 kids — at least 128 from Jharkhand’s Godda district — were found stranded at Palakkad station in Kerala in May. The kids were supposed to be taken to two orphanages in Kerala, raising the spectre of trafficking.

The Palakkad children have been brought home this month with the district planning a full family rehab for them.

However, no rehabilitation plan has been worked out for the Kollam kids.

“This particular case isn’t that of trafficking. Though parents here too sent their children willingly to Kerala orphanages, the child welfare committee hasn’t categorically called it trafficking,” Idrisi said.

But how can the administration ensure that they will not be sent back to Kerala?

“Yes, that is a challenge. Many things have to be taken into account before making plans. Let’s see how it can be done,” he added.