The Assam Police CID and Childline on Wednesday rescued 19 boys – all below 18 years of age – from the Guwahati railway station here while they were waiting to board a train with two persons who were not related to them in any manner. While Childline officials suspect it to be a case of child trafficking, the police are still investigating the motive of the two adults accompanying them.
“We discovered the 19 boys along with two adults in platform No 1 of the Guwahati railway station today morning following a phone call on 1098, and found that all of them belonged to the Reang community of Mizoram who are currently living as refugees in camps in North Tripura. We immediately informed the CID, which in turn took the two men into detention. The boys have been shifted to the Children’s Home in the city,” Nirmal Deka, coordinator of Guwahati Childline, told The Indian Express.
The children would have boarded a train and disappeared had a citizen not informed Childline over the telephone, Deka said. The two persons said they would have caught a Delhi-bound train at around 12:30 pm. They had however not bought tickets when they were intercepted, he said.
The police however have yet to register a case, with Violet Baruah, SP (CID) saying a case would be registered only after ascertaining the motive of the two persons in escorting the children. “We have detained the two persons and are investigating into their motive. If we find that it was an illegal transfer and the motive was trafficking, we will register a case and arrest them. We are also waiting for an appropriate order of the Child Welfare Committee which will be issuedtomorrow,” Baruah said.
Childline coordinator Deka on the other hand said that the two persons, who identified themselves as Gajendra (from Mathura in UP) and B Reang (of Hailakandi, Assam), gave contradictory replies to queries. “Once they said they were taking the boys to an ashram of a certain guru-ji in Mathura. Once they said they were taking them for some work. This obviously makes us suspect it to be a case of chuld trafficking,” Deka said.
He also said that B Reang claimed to be a Grade 4 employee in the deputy commissioner’s office in Hailakandi in southern Assam. Of the 19 boys, one was from Hailakandi and the others from Reang refugee camps in Kanchanpur, North Tripura, he added. Barring one or two of the older boys, the others cannot speak or understand any language other then their mother tongue, he said.
“The boys have been put up in the Guwahati Children’s Home and will be produced before the CWC tomorrow,” Deka informed