12-year-old child rescued at city railway station

A 12-year-old schoolboy from Donakonda town in Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, who had run away from home out of exam fear, was rescued and reunited with his family after three days. In the three days, the child claims to have earned Rs. 750 by selling potato chips on railway platforms.

Kiran (name changed), a Class 8 student, took the Yeshwantpur-Machalipatnam Express at Donakonda on April 9 after taking away Rs. 100 from home. Next morning, he was at the Yelahanka railway station.

Narrating his experience to the volunteers of BOSCO, a city child helpline which rescued him, Kiran said he alighted from the train at Yelahanka, took an autorickshaw to Hoody and had breakfast there before walking to K.R. Puram railway station.

There he saw hawkers selling chips, and bought a few packets with the Rs. 50 he had and sold them. According to him, he earned a profit of Rs. 30 on an investment of Rs. 50. Excited with his first earning, Kiran bought more packets of chips and sold them. In three days, he is said to have earned Rs. 750.

While he was moving around on trains selling chips, his parents had frantically begun searching for him after filing a missing complaint with the jurisdictional police. Kiran’s father, a businessman, printed over 5,000 pamphlets containing details and photograph of his son and distributed them in public places.

As some of the trains from Andhra Pradesh come to Bangalore, his father decided to come and distribute pamphlets and paste stickers on the Bangalore route, and especially at the Bangalore city railway station. He also met BOSCO volunteer Ravindran. To the family’s luck, Ravindran spotted the boy in school uniform selling chips at the city railway station.

What he underwent

Initially, Kiran told Mr. Ravindran that he had been kidnapped by a group while returning home from a shop and the gang forced him to sell chips on trains.

However, after he was taken to the BOSCO shelter at the city railway station, he confessed that he had run away from home out of exam fear.

“Excited about the earnings, Kiran had totally forgotten his exam and family. He had not even changed his dress or taken a bath as he was immersed in the business. Unlike other runaway children, he did not even spend money. He was investing all that he earned into business,” Mr. Ravindran said.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of BOSCO, P.S. George said that in the last three months, BOSCO received 686 complaints of which 632 complaints have been redressed. As many as 54 cases are yet to be resolved.

“Searching the missing child becomes easier and faster if an FIR is registered and parents share the information. Most parents do not make any efforts as they believe that the child may have gone to a relative’s house or he will return in a few days,” he said.

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