The audience at a book launch struggled to hold back their tears
Most book launches are about reading excerpts, speeches and discussions. But on Thursday, an audience at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, witnessed the reunion of children rescued from railway platforms with their families.
The audience had gathered for the release of 'Rescuing Children from Railway Platforms', a book written by Lalitha Iyer and Malcolm Harper. As the children, rescued from Bangalore City Railway station, walked up to their families with roses in their hands, many in the audience were seen struggling to hold back tears.
Later, some of the parents spoke about the emotional wreck their lives had become after losing their children.
The event was organised by Vikasana, a student-run social welfare initiative at IIM-B. The book was unveiled by former Lokayukta N. Santosh Hegde and the former Additional Chief Secretary Chiranjeev Singh.
Mr Singh said that every child had a unique story to tell. One such child is Baba, who ran away from home at the age of 8. While living on platforms, he lost his leg in an accident. At some point, he got addicted to drugs. Seven years after he had left home, he was taken to a de-addiction and rehabilitation camp.
Pramod Kulkarni, founder of NGO Sathi, spoke about the lives of the children and the complex issues involved while making decisions for them. For example, about whether they must be sent back to the homes they had run away from or allowed to stay in foster homes. He lamented the lack of a mechanism to keep track of missing children.
After releasing the book, Mr. Hegde reiterated the importance of the family in imparting value education to the next generation. Appreciating the work done by NGOs, such as Sathi, he expressed the hope that such efforts would multiply with time.