Police on Sunday recovered one more baby allegedly sold for adoption from the Nirmal Hriday shelter home run by Missionaries of Charity (MoC) in Jharkhand’s Ranchi, taking the total number of such newborns to four, senior officers said.

Silli’s deputy superintendent of police Satish Jha confirmed the development and said the child was recovered on the basis of the revelations made by Sister Koshleniea, in-charge of Nirmal Hriday, and Anima Indwar, a sweeper with the shelter home, during interrogation.

Jha added that the place from where the baby was recovered, the names of the biological mother and illegal adopted parents cannot be disclosed.

Sister Koshleniea and Indwar were arrested on July 5 for allegedly selling four babies following an investigation by the district child welfare committee (CWC).

The incident triggered a controversy as a section of opposition parties and the church questioned police action against the nun. The police have, however, maintained that the case was filed on the basis of concrete evidence, including confessions by the accused.

The committee shifted 13 pregnant unwed mothers staying in Nirmal Hriday and 22 newborns from Sishu Sadan to different state-run shelters and probation homes last week. Two unwed mothers gave birth to their babies after they were shifted, out of which one died, it said.

The committee’s decision to shift the children and mothers was criticised for poor preparedness after three children were reported to have fallen ill after being shifted from Sishu Sadan.

Several minority organisations on Sunday formed human chains in different localities of the state capital and staged a silent demonstration outside the Raj Bhawan demanding that the government should stop harassing the minority institutions engaged in welfare activities.

“There were multi-prong attacks on the minority communities branding them as anti-government in the name of pathalgadi (a traditional practice of tribal-dominated villages to apprise people about governance), illegal cow slaughters, the sale of beef, religious conversions and other issues,” Prabhakar Tirkey, national president of Rashtriya Isai Maha Sangh, said.

“The government should refrain from dividing the society on religious line,” Tirkey added.

The leaders demanded the government should stop acquiring farmland in the name of development. They were particularly opposed to the government’s proposed move of taking away facilities given to the Scheduled Tribes who have converted to Christianity.

They also decided that a delegation would soon meet the home secretary to air their grievances.

Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das last week ordered a “comprehensive” probe into the functioning of shelter homes and non-government organisations (NGOs) working for child protection in the state and ordered stern action against them in case of any irregularities in their work.

Missionaries of Charity’s spokesperson Sunita Kumar in Kolkata said they are conducting their own probe “very discreetly and carefully” but refused comment on Das’ probe order.

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