July 29, 2022
By OpIndia Staff
According to reports, Jacob Varghese, the arrested pastor of the Pentecostal Church was running the illegal trade under the guise of running an orphanage named Karuna Charitable Trust, in Kochi’s Perumbavur area.
The Kerala police busted a human trafficking racket and arrested a Kochi-based pastor, along with three others for trafficking minor girls from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. According to reports, Jacob Varghese, the arrested pastor of the Pentecostal Church was running the illegal trade under the guise of running an orphanage named Karuna Charitable Trust, in Kochi’s Perumbavur area.
The pastor and the other accused, who were working as agents, have been arrested and a case has been registered against them under section 370 (1) (2) (3) (4) (human trafficking) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Childline officials said that a separate complaint will be filed against the orphanage under the Juvenile Justice Act.
As per reports, the incident came to the fore after the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel rescued 12 minor girls, from Okha-Ernakulam Express when the train reached Kozhikode railway station on the night of July 27 (Wednesday). RPF Inspector Upendra Kumar said that acting on a tip-off, the railway protection force (RPF) officials took 12 girls into custody after inquiring about the route of their journey in Okha Express at Calicut Railway Station. The Inspector added that the rescued girls were handed over to the railway police who in turn handed them over to the Child Welfare Committee.
According to reports, six adults were travelling with the victims. Of these, four are said to be the parents of two girls. Out of the six people, three have been arrested, including an agent identified as Lokesh Kumar and Shyam Lal. The adults accompanying the girls had reportedly revealed to the police that the girls were being taken to the NGO Karuna Charitable Trust-run hostel for education. Subsequently, the charitable trust director, Jacob Varghese, was held.
A Hindustan Times report has quoted the district child welfare committee chairman P Abdul Nasar as saying, “Among the rescued children, 11 belong to Banswara region in Rajasthan and one girl is from Madhya Pradesh. All the children are in the 9-12 age group and most of them have no identification cards. They were tired and scared.”
Nasar reportedly added that the rescued girls will be given counselling and their medical examination will also be held. “Police have contacted the parents of some of the girls. The parents reportedly told the police that the girls were being sent to Kochi for education and after fulfilling all the formalities, they will be sent back to their parents,” Nasar said.
Of late, Kerela has become quite infamous for human trafficking. In June this year, reports emerged revealing the bitter tales of two Keralite Hindi-speaking women who were lured into trafficking in Kuwait by two men named Ajumon and Majeed. The case has been registered by the Ernakulam Town South police who have booked the accused under sections 34, 406, 420, and 506 of The Indian Penal Code.
In 2019, the crime branch of Kerala police filed a charge sheet at the POCSO Special Court in Thiruvananthpuram against the model-cum-activist Reshmi R Nair and her husband Rahul Pashupalann in connection with an online sex trafficking case.
Similarly, in 2018, after over 50 children go missing in a private charity, Janaseva Sishu Bhavan, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had begun an inquiry and put the secretary of the trust Jose Maveli on notice and asked him to produce the missing children. The District Collector took over the institution citing a violation of the Juvenile Justice Act. Following a series of complaints on violations, including illegal detention of children from other states, lack of proper documentation and missing children, the state government took over the trust for three months. A team of officials from Tamil Nadu found trafficked kids from the orphanages run by Maveli.
As per 2018 reports, 2,266 complaints of child rights violations had remained unresolved in Kerala from 2013-2018.