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2 arrested over ‘sale’ of COVID orphans, NGO office sealed in Pampore

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Srinagar: Police along with the civil administration on Thursday arrested two persons besides sealing the office of a ‘NGO’ in south Kashmir’s Pulwama a day after registering a FIR over the alleged illegal adoption and “sale” of children of COVID-19 victims in Kashmir.

As per an ‘India Today’ report, names of two Kashmiri men running NGOs have surfaced in an alleged racket “selling” children of COVID-19 victims.

While one offered the children for adoption against Rs 75,000, the second accused, running an NGO in south Kashmir’s Pampore, demanded as much as Rs 10 lakh in return of newborn children of COVID victims, some of them lifted from hospitals, for adoption, the ‘India Today’ report said.

In a statement here today, police said Police Station Pampore had received a written application from Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Pulwama, for registration of FIR in an alleged illegal adoption and sale of “COVID orphans” in Pampore area.

A case (FIR No. 153/2021) under relevant sections of law was registered in Police Station Pampore and investigation was initiated.

During the preliminary investigation, two accused persons identified as Mohammad Amin Rather, son of Ghulam Mohammad Rather, resident of Bemina (Srinagar), and Aijaz Ahmed Dar, son of Abdul Hameed Dar, resident of Pampore, were arrested.

“During the investigation, it came to fore that the arrested duo are running a trust in Samboora, Pamore by the name of Global Welfare Charitable Trust which was established in year 2020. The said trust has been sealed and essential documents/records were also seized,” police said, adding that further investigation in the case is going on and more recoveries are also expected in the case.

Pertinently, FIR was registered at Police Station Pampore against the alleged culprits Wednesday.

Besides, Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Sheetal Nanda has taken up the issue with IGP Kashmir, in order to ensure immediate action in the matter and initiate legal course of action under relevant laws, an official handout said.

Mission Director, ICPS J&K, Shabnam Kamili, has also asked the Child Welfare Committees “to meet COVID orphans personally which have already been identified by the department and uploaded on different online portals of Government of India and submit a report to the Directorate of ICPS within a day’s time”.

“Further, fact finding committees were also constituted for Jammu and Kashmir divisions in order to ascertain the number of orphans/COVID orphans and their well-being in all the districts of J&K,” an official statement said.

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