Thirty children, all from poor familes, have been removed by police from two homes run by the Emmanuel Seva Group in Greater Noida and Meerut.
According to this report, one of the rescued kids – a boy aged 9 – alleged that he was forced to convert to Christianity, hung by the wrists from a ceiling fan, starved for days and beaten mercilessly for failing to recite Bible passages.
The child, who along with his younger sister and brother had been confined to the home for three years, said their stay was like a “jail term”.
I was allowed to meet my parents once a month for only 15 minutes. The only thing I was taught was the Bible. They forced me to memorise its passages.
They gave us good clothes whenever visitors came. They made us stand in line and recite Bible passages. Once the guests left, the shelter in-charge snatched away our clothes, sweets and gifts and we were back in rags again.
His 11-year-old sister said the children were forced to sleep on a dirty floor that was littered with rodent droppings.
They never allowed us to step outside. We were not given food for three days at a stretch if we forgot a Bible passage.
Police investigator Ashwani Kumar said that a case was registered at the Bisrakh police station following the raid.
The children complained they were tortured and beaten up for not following the orders of the caretakers. We are investigating whether the organisation had permission to run a shelter home.
Three persons, including the caretaker of the shelter home, have been detained and are being questioned. We are investigating the claims of the rescued children.
Their mother, whose complaint to a children’s helpline led to the raids, said she was approached by one Josua Devraj at a Delhi hospital around three years ago.
He said he will raise my children. He forced us to circulate pamphlets and copies of the Bible in public places but never paid us.
They pelted stones at our house and beat us up with batons. They fled when the neighbours gathered.
The first raid took place at a shelter at the Naya Haibatpur village in Bisrakh area. Seven children were kept there in squalid conditions. The children were also found to be malnourished. A subsequent raid was conducted at the shelter home of the same organisation in Meerut from where 23 children were rescued.
Children revealed that they were being served cockroach-infested food and were forced to live in a substandard condition. Most of them are malnourished and sick. They need proper medication and care. The authorities are in talks with their family members, and they will be sent back to their homes soon.
Ironically, the Immanuel Seva Group India says on its website:
The objective of this organization is to work with [underprivileged] children and help them to be part of the society by assisting them in their needs like education, health and to provide them with clothes, meals, physical care and support. Work is carried out in the various underdeveloped areas and slums of Delhi, NCR & other North Indian region.
When contacted, accused Joshua Devraj accepted that a raid was conducted at his shelter homes but refused to comment on the issue.
Yes, raids were conducted but I can’t tell you much about it. I will comment on this issue later.