A Christian children’s home founder has been arrested for sexually abusing girl inmates. The girls ran away from the orphanage to escape his harassment. The founder had tried to evade arrest citing health issues. But the POCSO special court judge went to the hospital to investigate him and rewarded 15 days judicial remand.
Jesudas Raja, 65 years, the founder and principal of Annai Amala Children’s Home and St.Agnes Matriculation School, had filed a complaint with the police on October 25 after 3 of the girl inmates of the home went missing. Police found the girls and produced them in the court. Only then were the horrendous details of sexual abuse came to light.
Following this revelation, Jesudas was arrested on November 10 and the 40 girls residing in the home were shifted to a government child care facility. The home has been the residence to 198 children so far of which 67 were girls and 136 were boys. Upon inspecting the records police found that while the admission and enrollment details were proper, details of those who grew up and went out of the home were improper. Nakkheeran, a Tamil magazine reported that Annai Amala Trust also runs an old age home. Records of that home were also unkempt.
The girls had told the magistrate that Jesudas forced them to bathe and change clothes in open space. They also alleged that he and the staff forced them to work for long hours without providing food. One of the girls was sexually assaulted by a local youth on multiple occasions. Police are on the lookout for him. While Jesudas has been booked under section 11 and 12 of the POCSO act, the youth has been booked under sections 5 and 6 of the same act for repeated penetrative sexual assault.
Annai Amala Trust that runs the school, children’s home and old age home is an FCRA registered organisation. However it has received funds(Rs. 39,62567) only in 2019. However it has received grants from the Tamil Nadu Social Welfare board from 2017-20 to the tune of Rs.41,21,967. Dinamalar, a Tamil daily reported that Annai Amala Trust was receiving funds from abroad till 5 years ago and is allegedly operating with the revenue earned from the school now. The trust obtained FCRA license in 2017 only but there are unregistered organisations that receive foreign funds through other registered FCRA NGOs.
Dinamalar futther reported that there are allegations of children disappearing from the home and a few girl children jumping from the terrace in an attempt to commit suicide have been reported. However no inspection or investigation has taken place in all these years despite such issues. Now that the home’s chief functionary Jesudas has been arrested activists have demanded for a fair investigation and to shut the home.
Highlighting these gross violations of and Advocacy organisation Legal Rights Protection Forum has written to the Chairman of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR) to look into the foreign and government funding of the home.