Chalakudy: Six tribal children, including a four-year-old, ran away from an orphanage at Chalakduy in Kerala's Thrissur district after elder kids allegedly beat them up. The children walked for half-a-kilometre in the dark before they were spotted by health inspector M K Manjesh who took them to the taluk hospital.
The little kids told the police that the elder children hit on their heads with plates. The children have been moved to the Vazhachal tribal hospital. Children of the Mariapalana Society, Poolany, escaped in the wee hours of Sunday. They are from Vachumaram and Pokalpara tribal colonies. Custodians of the children make a living by collecting forest produce.
A four-year-old LKG student, two six-year olds, and children aged seven, eight and nine made the escape bid. These children had recently reached the orphanage. The kids said the older children had beaten them earlier also and that they had complained to the caretakers but it was ignored. In their statement to the police, the children said even the people who were in-charge of the orphanage assaulted them.
The child welfare committee said that action would be taken after seeking an explanation from the institution. Medical tests revealed that there were no serious injuries.
BD Devassy MLA, block panchayat president K K Shiju, Athirappilly panchayat president Thankamma Varghese also reached the spot and took stock of the institution.
Earlier too, there were instances of children being assaulted at the orphanage. Those who ran the institute itself assaulted the kids. The local people had then vandalised the centre. Then the MLA had called for a meeting and though a monitoring committee was formed, it did not function effectively.
The DYFI, AIYF and BJP workers held protest march to Mariapalana Society, Poolany, and Childcare institute.
The police have filed case against the authorities of the Childcare institute run by the Mariapalana Society for keeping the children in insecure circumstances. There are 65 children at the institute. Twenty-two, including those who made the escape bid, are from tribal families. The children studied at a school in the same institution.
Authorities said that the society was recognised by Orphanage Control Board.
What the children said:
Elder kids hit on our heads with plates. They will hit us again if were to stay here.
Did any of those who run the institute harassed you?
Not now. But they harass us while studying.
Weren't you scared to go out in the dark?
It is scarier to live here. If we stay at the institute, they will hit us again.
Don't you want to go back?
Are you ready to go to Vazhachal tribal hostel?
We will go there. Some among us had been there earlier
Are you not hungry? What do you want to eat?
Yes, very hungry. We want porrotta.
(As porrotta was not ready at the hotels, block panchayat president KK Shinju bought the kids tea, idli and idiyyapam)