June 12, 2024
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Maharashtra Clears Madrasa Teachers of Child Trafficking Charges

The Government Railway Police (GRP) in Manmad and Bhusawal have closed two criminal cases against five madrasa teachers arrested in May 2023 for allegedly trafficking 59 children from Bihar to Maharashtra for child labour. The teachers were detained for four weeks but investigations revealed the FIRs were filed due to a misunderstanding. Both GRP units submitted ‘C-Summary’ closure reports to the court in March, confirming no human trafficking had occurred.

The arrests stemmed from a joint operation by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and an NGO, who “rescued” the children from trains at Bhusawal and Manmad stations, suspecting child labour trafficking. However, subsequent verification in Bihar showed the children were traveling to study Islamic theology in madrasas. Despite presenting Aadhaar cards and attempting to contact parents via video calls, the teachers were unable to provide additional documentation demanded by authorities.

The incident caused significant distress for the accused, who faced social and psychological repercussions despite being cleared. Advocate Niyaz Ahmed Lodhi, representing the teachers, criticized the police’s actions and suggested they seek compensation for wrongful detention. Senior GRP officers defended the initial FIRs as a necessary response to the trafficking suspicion, emphasizing the importance of thorough investigations to prevent such misunderstandings in the future.

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