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After death of 6 children, now boy from Indore ashram goes missing; management alleges abduction

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INDORE, July 10: A 16-year-old boy from an Indore-based ashram, where six children died recently, has gone missing, prompting its management to lodge a complaint claiming that the minor was mentally-weak and was kidnapped by an unidentified person, police said on Wednesday.

Six children lost their lives at the Shri Yugpurush Dham Bal Ashram, operated by an NGO in Malharganj area of Indore within a span of a few days starting June 29. The deaths raised concerns over  mismanagement, over-admission and a suspected cholera outbreak at the shelter for special children.

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Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ashish Patel said that after the health of children deteriorated following the outbreak of cholera in Shri Yugpurush Dham Bal Ashram, some children were sent to Akhand Parmanand Ashram located in Khandwa Naka area of the city on July 6 as a precautionary measure.

“An FIR was registered at Tejaji Nagar police station on the basis of a complaint lodged by the management of Shri Yugpurush Dham Bal Ashram that one of the children, Anand (16), was lured by some unidentified miscreant and kidnapped on July 8,” he said.

The ACP said the police did not find the boy in the footage dated July 8 captured by CCTV cameras installed in and around the spot. “We are also examining CCTV footage prior to that date,” he added.

According to the ashram management, the missing boy is mentally-weak and he was sent to Indore by the Child Welfare Committee of Harda in January, Patel said.

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“All aspects related to the case of the missing minor boy are being investigated,” the officials said.

Four children died at the ashram between July 1 and July 2 after suffering from cholera, while one of the children who died at the institute on June 30 was claimed to have died due to brain seizure, officials said.

Another inmate of the ashram died during the intervening night of June 29 and 30, but the ashram management did not inform the administration about the death of the child and his body was handed over to his family members and buried at a local crematorium, he said.

The ashram management claimed that the child died of epilepsy, but this could not be confirmed, officials said.

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He said the probe by a high-level committee constituted by the administration also revealed overcrowding of children in the ashram, medical records of children not maintained properly and other irregularities in the maintenance of the institution. (PTI)






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