Forty-seven children went missing from refugee camps in Tripura and Hailakandi town of southern Assam. Of which seven have returned in the last few weeks with bitter tales to tell about child trafficking.
Kanchanpur area of northern Tripura state bordering Mizoram came into news in 1997 when about 35,000 Reang tribal took here shelter in six refugee camps after fleeing from neighbouring Mizoram, complaining of persecution by the dominant Mizos.
AdvertisementKanchanpur was soon forgotten but has again come into focus for its missing children.
Biradamani Reang, a government employee from neighbouring Assam, had been visiting the refugee camps since 2002, persuading inmates to send their children with him with promises of free education along with hostel facility.
Reang allegedly got several illiterate parents of the Gachiram Para camp to blindly sign the affidavits not knowing that in the process they are declaring their children orphans.
Between 2002-2005 he was able to dupe the parents of 47 children in the age group of 5 to 15 years to send them along with him.
By the time the distraught parents realised that they had cheated Reang had disappeared.
The parents were left with the name of an orphanage, the Ananda Marga Children's Home, which has no registered address. The distraught Parents have formally lodged a police complaint against Reang.
"As soon as this information has come to us, we have contacted the parents of the missing children. We are in touch with the Badarpur police and both Tripura police and Badarpur police are jointly working to retrieve the missing children," Suprintendent Of Police of North Tripura District, Uttam Mazumdar, said.
Meanwhile, seven missing children have returned to tell gory tales of being forced to work for virtually nothing.
Lairing Chowani, one of the seven children to return was taken away from home in 2002, and was allegedly kept in the Ananda Marg Ashram in Kolkata.
The children had been allegedly made to work after a year of education and were transferred from one state to another state across India.
Phaimaru Reang, a girl, who has returned is in a state of shock wants the culprit to be punished.
"Our parents had signed the affidavits because they are illiterate and so they blindly signed the papers without understanding the content. If it was written that they have killed someone then also they would have signed it without understanding anything," Phaimaru exclaims.
"But the actual culprit is that person who made them sign the papers. He is a sinner who has committed a crime," she added.
The inmates of the refugee camps say that the area has no schools to educate their children so they are vulnerable to unscrupulous people like Reang.
"As the parents have been convinced that children will be sent to free hostel and free educational institutions where they can get education till graduation, most of the parents had sent their children," said Elvis Chorkhy, president of Mizoram Bru Displaced Peoples Union.
Refugee camps in the northeastern states have always been vulnerable to trafficking, and child trafficking across the border into Bangladesh is also common
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