The CBI has finally arrested the founder of Mose Ministries, A Gideon Jacob. Jacob had been on the run for over a year now, ever since filed a case against him in 2015.
The details of the Mose Ministries case are more sinister than even the name Mose Ministries. 89 girls were kept in the Mose Ministries Home for Children in Tiruchi, an unregistered adoptive home, with no accounts or records, and were raised being told that they had been “saved from infanticide”. They grew up believing themselves to be orphans, while their biological parents lived, as the report by Rohini Mohan in The Hindu from March 2017 reveals, in villages just a few kilometres away.
The girls were discovered in 2015 by two interns who were working on a report for CHANGEIndia on unregistered adoption homes. Activists have slowly been discovering the biological parents of these girls, and have confirmed the parents of 34 of these girls, most tracing back to nearby villages in Usilampatti.
It’s a truly harrowing and unspeakably sad case. Some of the accounts coming from parents reveal stories like girl children simply being given away by other family members when the mother wasn’t paying attention, and of nurses encouraging parents who seem disappointed in the gender of their baby to just leave them behind, to be taken to Mose Ministries. The women themselves mostly seem to be around the same age (82 of them had recently reached the age of 18 when this case came to light), and are reconciling with the shocking revelation that they are not orphans after all, and this is the never the life they would have otherwise led.
As The News Minute points out, Tamil Nadu had a “Cradle Baby Scheme”, meant to tackle rampant female infanticide in the state. Under this scheme, if babies were left behind by their parents, hospital authorities were to inform the police, and then send the child to a registered adoptive home. Mose Ministries was not a registered home, and the children were placed under its care in patently illegal ways.
Jacob also took several of these girls on foreign trips to visit churches and giving dance performances at various charitable and Christian institutions in Europe, particularly in Germany, which is also where they got most of their funding from (Jacob’s wife is of German origin).
Jacob has been booked under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 361 (kidnapping and unlawful guardianship), 368 (concealing and confinement of kidnapped or abducted persons), 201 (causing disappearance of evidences of offence), 340 (wrongful confinement), 370 (buying or disposing any person as a slave) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and a few other sections of Juvenile Justice Act.