Childline officials in Andhra Pradesh rescued two minors on Wednesday from the house of a 38-year-old pastor after he allegedly assaulted them.
The incident took place at pastor Wilsonâ€™s house at YSR Colony, Jakkampudi in Vijayawada. The children rescued are aged 4 and 6.
According to Childline officials, the children said that they were thrashed after they failed to follow his instructions.
"The children said they were beaten with sticks, a belt and a wire. As far as we can see the wounds, they seem to be a week to ten days old. The neighbours had noticed the injuries and called us on the helpline," Arava Ramesh of ChildLine told TNM.
The bruises on the children's body also suggested that they were separate incidents of abuse.
According to Ramesh, the pastor had seemingly taken the children under his wing, under the guise of providing them education and an upbringing, after their parents expressed helplessness at raising the children.
"The children were going to school, and we have confirmed it. We have informed the parents, natives of Vizianagaram district, who are on their way to meet the children," Ramesh added.
Childline officials are waiting for the parents, to get further clarity into the incident, adding that the children had been staying with the pastor since June this year.
"We are still ascertaining if the pastor adopted the children or if any other such illegal act is involved. We have already filed a complaint with the Two Town Police Station in Vijayawada," Ramesh said.
However, a police case is yet to be registered. The children have been shifted to a childrenâ€™s home at Gandhinagar.
Childline India Foundation (CIF) is a well-recognised NGO working for protection of child rights by running a toll-free helpline for street children in distress since 1996.
According to the foundation's website, "CIF is the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development acting as the parent organisation for setting up, managing and monitoring the CHILDLINE 1098 service all over the country. CIF is the sole agency/body responsible for establishing the CHILDLINE service in the cities/districts of the country, monitoring of service delivery and finance, training, research and documentation, creating awareness, advocacy as well as resource generation for the service."
Last month, a pastor who allegedly sexually exploited young women in Andhra's West Godavari district was facing potential arrest after AP Womenâ€™s Commission chairperson Nannapaneni Rajakumari visited Jagannadhapuram village.
After the pastor was exposed by a local TV channel, locals held a public meet in the village, along with Rajakumari and police officials.
Following Rajakumari's visit, several women approached her, and narrated tales of how they were sexually exploited by pastor Didde Ebenezer who was running a church in the village.
A victim alleged that the pastor would organise 'special prayers' and make women stand in the nude, in candle light. They also claimed that four women were under confinement with the pastor.