17 Bengal children missing, trafficking linked to BJP leader

CHILD-TRAFFICKING

Kolkata, Feb 22: Shockingly, at least 17 children of adoption centres went missing which are suspected to fall prey of child trafficking with an international footprint, in Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal.

The state police have held two women including a primary school headmistress, and are on the hunt for a BJP leader in connection with the trafficking.

The incident came to light after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) acted on a complaint from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, observed some irregularities in the adoption centres in Jalpaiguri.

The CID filed a case and nabbed headmistress of a primary school Chandana Chakraborty, who ran three children’s homes in north Bengal, as also one of her aides Sonali Mondal late last week. After a thorough interrogation, they reportedly revealed their complicity in shady adoption deals, a CID officer said.

Police maintained that at least 17 children, inmates of the homes, were trafficked in the last one year. While some of them were sent for adoption to families abroad without following the laws of the land, police claim.

Chakraborty’s links with a woman BJP leader, now allegedly in hiding, are also being probed.

However, state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh alleged that dragging the BJP into the case is part of a “larger conspiracy” against the party. But he said as per his party’s rules, anybody facing such allegations would have to clear his or her name first and till that time the party would keep away from such persons.

Meanwhile, Jalpaiguri District Magistrate Rachna Bhagat has issued a show-cause notice on Jalpaiguri District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) Shashmita Ghosh over her ignorance about the thriving child trafficking racket.

However, Ghosh informed a television channel that she has only followed the rules.

“I am part of a system. I have acted according to the powers I have and the rules governing adoption processes.”

She admitted knowing Chakraborty, saying the homes received money under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

 Wefornews Bureau

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