Bengaluru: The railway police in Bengaluru detained more than 190 madrassa students for more than eight hours on the suspicion of them being victims of trafficking.
A false alarm was raised by few commuters on Guwahati-Bengaluru train, when they saw around kids loaded into a single coach. The vigilant passengers thought this was a case of child trafficking.
Once the train reached Bengaluru's Krishnarajapuram station, the railway police were alerted. The police then swung into action and escorted the kids out of the platform and questioned them.
Most of the students, aged between 8 and 13, were returning from their Ramzan holiday to resume studies in various madrassas. They were held in custody for more than eight hours in the waiting room of the cantonment railway station.
Earlier in the day, speaking to CNN-News18, Chitra N, SP Railway Police, said, "We have not registered any case. The kids had come to join few madrassas in Bengaluru and Tumkur... It seems genuinely they came to the city and no case of trafficking is made out."
However, the right-wing groups started a social media campaign that these kids were bought into the city for conversion. Even the official social media groups of the right wing organisations even started claiming that these kids were of Bangladeshi origin.
Kaleem, convenor, Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR), said: "I don't understand why the kids were held up. We spoke to the police. They said the papers are clear. There is nothing illegal about it. But then they didn't release them. When we confronted the police, they said, "higher ups have asked them to hold them and do a thorough check."
Sadiq Madikere, rector, Madrassa Noor UL Islam, said: "Our eight instructors had also accompanied these children. Fourteen students belong to our madrassa, seventy are of students of madrassa from Sira, fifty five from Hubli and five from Sabirul Irshad Madrassa Bengaluru. We provided all the necessary documents."
The railway police provided them food and water. Some passersby even gave biscuits to the children.