Kathua: A pastor was arrested for allegedly molesting 19 children in the Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.

A raid was conducted by the district administration on a specific input that around 20 children were held hostage inside a religious premise.

A team headed by assistant commissioner revenue Jitendra Mishra raided the compound, which was being used as a “forced hostel” by the pastor.

Nineteen children including 11 boys and eight girls who of ages between five and 16 years have been rescued. All the rescued children were from the adjoining town of Kathua; they had been sent here by their parents.

Mishra, while speaking to MyNation, said, “We got inputs on suspicious activities inside the premises. We got to know of it yesterday and we acted swiftly. They failed to provide registration or other documents when asked for.”

“The pastor was claiming to his association with the Pentecostal Mission but they have denied his association,” the assistant commissioner revenue added.

One of the 11 boys rescued from the horror house revealed that he was beaten naked in front of others by the pastor.

Another girl, while alleging pastor of abusing her, said, “There was no lock in our room. The pastor used to come and take away a single girl every night. He used to give us candies for it.”

“He used to show us porn movies and get naked in front of us. He would strip us as well,” she added.

The police have recovered drug candies from the possession of the pastor, which will he sent for forensic examination.

Sources told MyNation that the pastor was running his “forced hostel” for the past 3-4 years inside the premises. He hails from Kerala and is in his early 60s. He was living here with his wife. He began abusing the children sexually when his wife left for Kerala some months ago.

The police have sealed the premises and recovered mobile phones, a laptop, pen drives and other incriminating material from the property, which will serve as evidence in the inquiry.

The police in the night of Friday registered an FIR against the pastor under Section 376 of the RPC. Medical tests of all the 19 children were conducted at around 3 PM in the district hospital of Kathua.