Sunday, June 6, 2010

Balak Ashram probe hints at Preet Mandir link

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    • Pune:
    • Investigations by the state Anti-trafficking Committee and the Child Welfare Committee into the illegal adoption racket reveal probable links between Gurukul Godavari Balak Ashram and Preet Mandir, an adoption centre in the city.


      It is also suspected that Gurukul Godavari Balak Ashram head Mathew Yanmal, arrested for allegedly selling an HIV-positive baby — the baby died later — to a Mumbai couple, was involved in conversion of some children in the ashram.


      Anti-trafficking Committee member Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe said, “We recorded 35 children’s statements at the ashram. There are mainly two findings. One is illegal adoption or sale of children at the ashram was done through another organisation and the suspicion is on Preet Mandir. Some children told us Preet Mandir social workers visited the ashram. Another finding is that children at the ashram were forced to convert. A few children said they were converted at Kedgaon in Daund and their Hindu names changed. We suspect Mathew carried out illegal conversions.”

    • The CBI had recently registered a case against a managing trustee of Preet Mandir and some state government officials for alleged involvement in kidnapping of poor children mostly from rural areas and selling them abroad.
    • Police investigation reveals that Mathew had formed an organisation named “Matrubhu Lovers Christian Association” and was running the ashram as an activity of the association.

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