Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Kaliapani, Nov 1:
At least 24 dalit children were rescued from an illegal church near a railway siding in Odisha’s Keonjhar district following a raid by the district child welfare committee members on Saturday.
During the raid which was ordered by the district collector, as many as 24 minor children in the age group of 6 and 12 were rescued from the illegal church.
According to sources, a couple—Sadhu Balmuchu (38) and his wife Mary (34)—from Banitangar village in Rebana Palaspal panchayat under Daitari police station limits had turned a hutting into a church and were identifying themselves as father and mother of the makeshift religious place.
They were giving Bible teachings to the inmates hailing from Jajpur, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and other parts of the state. The couple had allegedly engaged these children in religious conversion activities.
The couple was reportedly caught while showing films and teachings of Jesus Christ with the help of a projector at Pandapada Juang Basti in Keonjhar district recently. The duo was allegedly instigating the villagers to convert to Christianity.
While the locals alleged that the husband-wife had engaged the minors in immoral activities, no arrests have been made so far.
“We have resuced the children from the shanty. They were living in a very bad condition. The rescuded children will be shifted to Open Shelter at Baniapat,” said Dharitri Rout, CWC member.
“The CWC had submitted a report and the finding of the reports said that the children were living in an inhumane condition. As per the orders of the Collector, we raided the hutting and rescued the children,” a member of the raiding party said.
The rescued children were taken to district headquarters hospital in Keonjhar for health check up before being shifted to the shelter home. Of the two dozen children rescued, some of them are reportedly suffering from pulmonary disease.