Ill-Famed NGO Good News India Continues Ops In Odisha Despite Being Banned
Bhubaneswar: Despite being banned in 2018, an NGO was found illegally operating 24 residential homes for orphaned and destitute children across Odisha.
This was revealed during a raid on four-storey office-cum-transit home run by Good News India, on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, on Tuesday.
Following a tip off, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) chairperson and member secretary Rupali Banerjee Singh along with officials of state Women and Child Development department raided its headquarters at Anantapur in Phulnakhara. “Following allegations of sexual abuse, illegal detention and conversion of children in the orphanages named Good News India Dream Centres, the state government had informed us that all the orphanages run by the NGO were closed down. But recently we were tipped about this NGO actively running residential centres in the state,” NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo told the media.
The NGO earlier operated 25 orphanages in the state and its shelter homes were sealed in 2018 after a few female inmates brought allegation of sexual harassment against the managing director, who was later arrested. It was also accused of engaging in illegal religious conversion of inmates. A nine teams of NCPCR along with WCD department officials had then investigated the incidents. The ill-famed NGO’s finances and foreign funding sources had also come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate as part of the investigation in the Dhenkanal Shelter Home sexual abuse case.
Kanoongo informed none of the facilities being run now by the NGO has been registered under the Juvenile Justice Act. “It appears prima facie that the NGO was also illegally converting children at this four-storey building with transit home, a church and a prayer hall. We have asked the NGO authorities to provide necessary documents failing which NCPCR will lodge a police complaint against it and seal it,” he alleged.
During questioning, the NGO’s employees revealed about 30 orphanages being run in West Bengal, Odisha and Chhattisgarh with the majority of 24 orphanages with 3,000 children in Odisha. “The NGO has been collecting funds from abroad in the name of destitute children and converting them,” he added.