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'I will never send my daughter to such a trust again'

'I will never send my daughter to such a trust again'

Author: Amit Singh
Publication: Mid-Day
Date: December 8, 2009
URL: http://mid-day.com/news/2009/dec/081209-midday-exclusive-converted-girls-rescued.htm

Emotions took centre stage as cops from the Faridabad police knocked at the gate of Flat No 134, Sector-21, Faridabad on Monday morning.

The cops were accompanied by two couples, who had filed a police complaint against a charitable trust, accusing it of converting their daughters to Christianity.

As the caretaker of the flat, used by the Comademat Charitable Trust, opened the iron gate, the parents searched the dim rooms till eight-year-old Anila Paswan alias Mary, emerged from one of them and ran to her mother, Radha. Behind her came her younger sister, six-year-old Sony and another girl from the trust, Shivani alias Damaris, whose parents had also filed a complaint. For the next 15 minutes, the girls held on to their parents, inconsolable.

In MiD DAY first

On Monday, MiD DAY had reported how the charitable trust, managed by a couple from Brazil -- Aldemir De Souza and his wife Darlene -- had allegedly converted 15 girls to Christianity and given them new names. The parents of three girls said the trust had been avoiding their attempts to contact their children for a month.
The girls were handed over to the trust by their poor families about a year ago. In return, the parents were assured the girls would be provided good education, free food and accommodation.

Suresh Paswan, Anila's father, said, "We have met our girls after six months. For the last couple of days we were very tense. My wife has been crying continuously and didn't even eat anything. Now that we have got our daughters back, we can't stop crying. We can't thank MiD DAY enough. I will never hand over my children to such a trust again."

When asked if they will address their daughter as Mary or Anila, Paswan said, "We are Hindus and Anila is her birth name. We will try to convince her. Till now she was taken to churches, now we will take her to temples. I am sure both my daughters will soon start following our customs and tradition."

Cop action

Earlier in the day, Paswan and Pitamber, Shivani's father, filed a police complaint at the Police Headquarters at Faridabad Sector 12. In their complaint, the parents said the children were tricked and converted to Christianity. "We were never informed about their change of names or that they were being taken to churches.

The trust had said we had signed a 20-year-contract of non-interference in the girls' lives, but we are not aware of any such document. Now we want our kids back, otherwise they may take them to their country," said Paswan, in his complaint.

After the girls were reunited with their parents, the cops escorted them to the nearby police station at Sector 21-D, Faridabad.

Praveen Kumar Mehta, deputy commissioner of police (NIT), Faridabad Police, said, "I have asked the concerned police station to look into the case and take action against any person found responsible for converting the kids."

Happy kids

At the police station, Paswan signed a document stating he was taking his daughters home. "I had a good life at the trust but missed my mother. I was too scared to ask them to make me speak to her. Now I want to stay with my father and mother," said Anila. Her sister Sony, agreed.

However, Pitambar didn't take Shivani back with him. "I want Shivani to be well educated. And I can't afford a good school with my driver's salary. So if the trust promises not to force her to follow Christianity, I will let her stay here," he said.

"I am happy to have met my father. I want to study here, but would like to keep meeting him," said Shivani.
When contacted on Sunday, Darlene De Souza said in an email, "We are out of India for a surgery. We have all the documents and the parents know everything. We are only in India to help those needy children."

You read it in MiD DAY first

The story so far

According to Suresh Paswan, who works as a gardener near Gurgaon, the trust had taken in the girls last year.

He said it was about five months ago that he was asked to address Anila as Mary, and ordered to visit the girls once in six months. He alleged the trust had shifted the girls from the house where they resided earlier. When this reporter visited the trust's old office at B-1083, Greenfield Apartments, Faridabad, it was found the girls had been shifted out a month ago.

MiD DAY also found the trust had enrolled 11 of the 15 girls in its custody in Northland International School, Faridabad. But the girls were pulled out of the school in October last year. Interestingly, the trust had submitted to the school an affidavit, a copy of which MiD DAY has, with a list of 12 girls with 'Christian' names.
Paswan had contacted MiD DAY on Friday evening, reporting that his daughter had gone missing.

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