Jammu and Kashmir: 19 children rescued during raid at orphanage

Sep 09, 2018, 07:40 IST | Agencies

The civil administration and police conducted the raid Friday after some children complained that they were being "harassed and tortured" at the facility run by a pastor from Kerala

Jammu and Kashmir: 19 children rescued during raid at orphanage
The children, aged 5 to 16, have been shifted to government-run Bal Ashram and Nari Neketan. Pic/Twitter

Nineteen children, including eight girls, have been rescued from an unregistered orphanage in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua district during a raid, officials said on Saturday.

The civil administration and police conducted the raid Friday after some children complained that they were being "harassed and tortured" at the facility run by a pastor from Kerala.

Antony Thomas has been arrested and booked under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in this connection, they said. Thomas, however, has denied all charges of any wrongdoing at the centre. "A total of 21 children are staying at the asylum. Two of them have gone to their native place - Pathankot [Punjab] - to attend a marriage," he told reporters before being whisked away by police.

The children, aged 5 to 16, have been shifted to government-run Bal Ashram and Nari Neketan, the officials said, adding they belong to different parts of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu. Senior Superintendent of Police, Kathua, Shridhar Patil said, "The rescue operation was conducted based on a complaint and further investigation is on."

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