A joint team comprising District Programme Officer, Child Welfare Committee, District Child Protection Officer, police and officials from the district administration raided a mercy home at Kalareheri village in Ambala and rescued 25 children.
'The home was being run illegally. The children have been rescued and sent to safer homes. Despite repeated directions, the home operators failed to fulfill required conditions for the registration as per the Juvenile Justice Act. An investigation has revealed that children have been forcibly converted,' the DPO, Ms. Baljeet Kaur said.
'A committee was constituted by the Deputy Commissioner under the chairmanship of ADC and ample time was given to the home to fulfill conditions, but they failed. Therefore, it was not appropriate to keep the children at an unregistered home,' she said.
The children reportedly belong to the couples who have either separated, not able to keep them or one of the partners is no more.
The children (12 girls and 13 boys) aged between 3 and 17 were brought to the Civil Hospital, Ambala Cantonment for a checkup. After the checkup, the girls were sent to Bal Kunj, Chhachhrauli, and boys to Child Care Institute, Karnal. Some minor girls were inconsolable and they were not ready to go.
Dr. Gurdev Singh, Officiating Chairperson, of the CWC, said: 'The children will be provided counselling and further action would be taken accordingly.'
Refuting the allegations, Mr. Phillip Masih, president of the mercy home, said 'We have dedicated our lives for the welfare of these children and have never converted any child. We have always cooperated with the administration whenever the missing or orphan children used to be sent to us. I am being harassed just because I am a Christian.'