Eighteen tribal students were rescued from a Buddhist missionary school in Bihar and brought to Agartala, a Tripura minister said Saturday. The children, belonging to the Mog and the Chakma community at Pencharthal in the North Tripura district, were sent to study in Bodh Gaya. The school was shut down two months ago without any information to the parents, state Health and Family Welfare Minister Sudip Roy Barman said.
The children were rescued by Bihar police and brought to Agartala by train. Mr Roy Barman received the children Friday evening at the Agartala railway station.
"There is a sigh of relief for all of us that the children have returned to Tripura. The Department of Tribal Welfare will ask the Bihar government for proper investigation of the incident. We don't want any child to go to other state without the knowledge of the Tripura government. It is an eye-opener for all of us," Mr Roy Barman told reporters.
Tripura State Child Welfare Society chairperson Nilima Ghosh, who met the children, alleged that she found marks of torture on their bodies. She also said their families had paid money to the authorities of the school for their study and subsistence.
"They were wearing dirty clothes and had signs of torture on their bodies, Ms Ghosh told reporters. She said that the Child Welfare Society would soon initiate legal action against the school authority, following a discussion with the state government.
She added that the police official, who handed over the children at the Agartala railway station, had said there were other children from Assam's Karbi Anglong district in the institution.
They were handed over to the Assam authorities at the Guwahati railway station, Ghosh quoted the police official as having said.