“The children belong to the Muslim community and are all in the 8-16 age group. They have been sent to child care centres operated by child welfare committees in Jalgaon and Nashik,” said Ganesh Shinde, who holds the additional charge of SP of Railway Police, Aurangabad.
Shinde added: “Following an inquiry, it has been learned that the children were being taken from the Purnia in Bihar to Sangli, purportedly to get them admitted to a madrasa. But the children had no documents with them like school leaving certificates, birth certificates, Aadhaar cards etc.
In this age, one has to comply with all the legalities. Even schools take consent from parents when their wards are taken out for excursions. These children were being taken from one end of the country to another. So far, we have not found any parental consent letter with the men either. Therefore, the five accused have been arrested under section 370 of the IPC.”
While the police had taken charge of 29 boys at the Bhusawal railway station, the remaining 30 were taken by the police from the Manmad railway station.
An officer of the railway protection force (RPF) at the Bhusawal station had received information about a group of children being taken by the Danapur-Pune Express for child labour. When the RPF team checked the train at the Bhusawal station, they found 29 boys in two coaches. The RPF personnel talked to the boys, but could not get any satisfactory response. They then found a man accompanying the children.
The man, who identified himself as Mohammad Anjur Alam Mohammad Sayyad of Sangli district, told the RPF personnel that he was taking the boys to a madrasa. However, he did not have any documentation to show for his claim – either from the madrasa or the children’s parents. On a complaint of the RPF officer, the government railway police at Bhusawal registered an FIR against Sayyad under section 370 of the IPC for alleged human trafficking.
As the train left the Bhusawal station and reached Manmad, another group of 30 children was found and four more men accompanying them were arrested under the same IPC section. Based on personal identity documents found with them, the police have named them Noman Siddique, Ajaj Siddique, Saddam Hussain Siddique and Mohammed Shah Nasser. They are all residents of Araria in Bihar.
The police and members of the child welfare committee would get in touch with the children’s parents for further legal proceedings.