Malayali priest arrested on charges of running children’s home unlawfully gets bail

Malayala Manorama Online [Kottayam, Kerala, India]

January 28, 2024

Bhopal: Fr Anil Mathew of the Congregation of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate was released from jail after he secured bail in the case in which he was accused of running a children’s home unlawfully. He was initially charged under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Police later charged him for engaging in conversion attempts at the facility under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, an anti-conversion law.

During the inspection carried out by the chairperson of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and a team of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) at the children’s home at Tara Savania village, about 20 km from the Bhopal, it was revealed 26 children were missing from the facility.

However, the priest’s counsel argued that they had gone back to their respective homes after presenting letters of request from their parents. Accepting this, the local court granted the priest bail and he was released from jail.