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Sunday, May 28, 2023

Organ trafficking and rape under the guise of charity in Wayanad

Early last week, local media revealed a gang that lured the sick and infirm into organ donation, based out of Wayanad in Kerala. A trio posing as charity workers raped a lady in her thirties after promising her help. The arrested were identified as Shamshad (24), Fazal Mehmood (23) and Saifu Rahman (26), all natives of Sultan Bathery. They are also said to have links with the illegal organ trade happening in private hospitals in Kerala.

Earlier, the accused approached the lady who is undergoing treatment for a serious illness. They said that they represented a charity based out of Pulpally in Wayanad called Snehadanam. To convince her relatives, Shamshad filmed a video asking for financial help for the sick lady and circulated it on social media. 

Knowing fully well that she had health issues, they convinced her that she would receive Rs 3 lakh from the sale of her kidney. She disagreed initially but accepted when they promised her 5 Lakhs. They then took the Bathery native to a private hospital in Ernakulam to sell off her vital organs. 

A medical examination showed that she was diabetic and the doctor made it clear that she could not be granted permission for organ donation. This is when the accused turned violent and threw away her medical records. They then spiked her food with drugs and when the victim passed out, raped her. All of them returned to Wayanad. 

The investigating team led by Sulthan Bathery Deputy Superintendent of Police Pradeep got police custody of the accused and took them to Ernakulam to collect evidence. Shamshad told the police that the lady had come to their room but CCTV cameras and the staff at the hotel made it clear that the accused and the victim had come together. The hospital too confirmed the same. 

The accused made her sell her gold ring (her only savings) and fleeced her for Rs. 18,000. They also took away her ATM card and withdrew Rs. 30,000, which was donated by others as charity.

By late last week, pro-Christian media outlet Malayala Manorama jumped into the fray. They reported that the police investigating team told them that the “accused were part of the organ mafia racket thriving on the periphery of the private hospitals in Kochi city.” They added that one Anil came to the help of the accused in Kochi and arranged hotel rooms for all.

That report found no mention of the sinister charity Senhadanam. Sneham means love and Danam is charity or donation. Snehadanam is also based out of Pulpally near Bathery, Wayanad and headed by someone called Prince. Their Facebook page showed that it was registered in April of this year. It also has photos of Prince and his ‘volunteers’ delivering rice bags to the locals.

Though the names and locations of the accused was reported, Anil’s last name and details were not.

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