Police have rescued more than 500 children in a suspected child trafficking case in India's southern Kerala state, according to authorities.

The children were brought by train from eastern Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal states, reported Reuters on Tuesday. 

"The important clearance documents that these orphanages should have taken for the custody of children are missing", said Jharkhand's Labour Commission official, Manish Sinha.

The children, who are in the age group of six to 16, are now being sheltered in various welfare homes near Palakkad district in Kerala.

An FIR has been filed by the railway protection force for carrying children without proper documentation and eight persons have been arrested on charges of child trafficking.

The matter came to light when a five-member team of senior officers from Jharkhand confirmed that the orphanages did not have proper documents of each child and the statement provided by the caretakers was not satisfactory. The officer added that it could be a case of child trafficking.

In a similar incident, local media reported last week that about 589 children were brought on a train to Kozhikode in Kerala and were taken into custody from Palakkad Railway Station by the Railway Protection Force.

Source: Agencies