SHG women travelling in a train see the gang taking away two runaway boys and demand their release, but the gang members raise false alarm labelling the women as traffickers

A couple of gutsy SHG women who tried to free two runaway boys from the clutches of traffickers, themselves landed in trouble for a while.

Kola Varalakshmi and G. Satya, conveners of the Rustumbada and Palacole units of the Social Action Committee, constituted by the West Godavari district administration to address gender issues, narrated the sequence of events at a crime review meeting where Collector G. Vanimohan and Superintendent of Police M. Ramesh were present here on Thursday.

The boys — Teeramsetti Mahesh (12) and Malladi Musaiah -- from Pallepalem near Rajole in East Godavari district surfaced at the Narsapur railway station after running away from their houses on Thursday morning. Mahesh, a class VII dropout, is under the care of his grandmother as his mother Manga is away in Kuwait. Musalaiah, a class IX dropout, is already engaged at work. Mahesh tried to run away from house under the influence of Musalaiah, his cousin.

A gang of traffickers approached them at the railway station with a promise to provide them work in Vijayawada for a daily wage of Rs. 100 and food. They all boarded a train to Vijayawada. The SHG women, who were also travelling in the same bogie to attend a training programme here, grew suspicious of the gang members. When they sought release of the boys, the gang members raised a false alarm, labelling the SHG women as traffickers. The SAC identity cards given to them by the Velugu project authorities were of no use as their co-passengers supported the gang members.

The women, along with the boys, were handed over to the railway police after they were forced to alight at the Bhimavaram station.

It was only after the railway police talked to the personnel at the family counselling centre run by the Velugu project here that their identity was established. Meanwhile, the traffickers made good their escape.