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In the Politics of Religion, Children Have Become the Victims

In the Politics of Religion, Children Have Become the Victims

The rescue of 579 children less than a fortnight ago from two trains which were on their way to Kerala from Jharkhand and Bihar has taken a curious turn.

The children, it was claimed, were travelling to Kerala to study in orphanages. But after eight people were arrested and the railway police registered cases of child trafficking, the Crime Branch was brought into the picture.  The Kerala Minority Commission minority community leaders belonging to the ruling coalition have, however, cried foul. ET Mohammed Basheer, a lawmaker alleges that the institutions and orphanages were being targeted because they are being run by the minority community.

The episode has triggered a debate across the state. Is the politics of religion adding a communal colour to the alleged child trafficking case, or have the institutions invited negative publicity because procedures were not followed and there were certain irregularities and lacunae in the law? The bigger concern is that poverty and the dream of a better life is pushing parents to virtually force their children to live like orphans, under institutional supervision and away from parental care, something that is not recommended under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. 

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