After AP, child adoption racket unearthed in Orissa
BHUBANESWAR: Close on the heels of child trafficking allegations in Andhra Pradesh last fortnight, district officials in neighbouring Orissa state have unearthed a child adoption racket in Cuttack City, 30 km from here.
Police raided the premises of an orphanage, Vikash Parishad Sishu Ashram (VPSA) run by Sukhdev Swain in Cuttack on Wednesday and unearthed the racket, police said on Thursday.
A child adoption and trafficking racket was busted in Andhra Pradesh by state police last fortnight. A state lawmaker and some eminent people were arrested in connection with the racket. Police suspect similar rackets in some of the adoption centers in Orissa.
"The orphanage was functioning illegally at Kadampada in the outskirts of Cuttack city. We raided the orphanage on the basis of the instructions we had received from the state government after the Andhra Pradesh developments," an official involved in the raid said.
The orphanage record revealed that it had housed 11 children, all below seven years. Of them four were found missing, he said on condition of anonymity. The orphanage claimed that two of them died due to sunstroke a week ago and two were returned to their parents.
"Swain could not provide proof of the children's death due to sun stroke, district social welfare officer Bidhu Bhusan Sahu said. Besides the returning of children to the parents as claimed by Swain is illegal, he said. Adoption rules specify no child can be returned to his or her biological parents after sixty days of stay in the orphanage, he said.
All the children were found housed in the most deplorable conditions. They were malnourished and besides there was sufficient evidence of ill treatment of the kids at the orphanage, he said.
The seven children who have been identified as Sabitri 6,Roshanara 6, Buddhadev 6, Vaisali 3, Rinki 1, Babita 4, and Julie 3 have been rescued by the raid party from the orphanage and shifted to Vasundhara another child adoption center located in the city, he said.
The orphanage allegedly involved in the adoption racket has been functioning since 1994.The owner of VPSA has also been running a similar orphanage in the tribal populated Phulbani district, 211 km from here.
The state government had blacklisted the Phulbani orphanage four years back. For the past one-year there have been complaints of irregularities against the Cuttack orphanage, Cuttack district police chief M.Akhyaya said.
"We are investigating the whereabouts of the missing children and other irregularities," he said. Action will be taken against the people involved in the child adoption racket, Akhyaya said. (IANS)