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High Court initiates suo motu proceedings in child trafficking case

Kochi: Kerala High Court today initiated suo motu proceedings over alleged trafficking of over 500 children from Jharkhand, West Bengal and Bihar to orphanages in the state in May this year.

A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice A M Shaffique directed the government to file a comprehensive report within three weeks regarding the details of inmates in the orphanages in the state.

The proceedings were initiated on the basis of a report in an English daily and the report of Kerala Child Rights Protection committee. Two PILs seeking to handover investigation of the case to CBI are pending before the high court. The CBI has expressed its willingness to investigate the matter.

At least 580 children from the three eastern states were being taken to two orphanages in Kerala when they were detained by police at Palakkad railway station on May 24 on finding that many of them did not have proper documents. The children were to be sent to two orphanages. The issue had snowballed into a major row in the state with IUML, the key partner in UDF,taking objection to treating the incident as a case of child trafficking.

Taking serious note of the incident, Kerala State Child Rights Protection Commission had directed the state government to take necessary steps to send the children back home. The children are now kept at state-run juvenile homes of the Child Welfare Society in Palakkad, Malappuram and Thrissur.

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