Operation Muskaan: 22 ‘rescued’ children not produced before CWC

Family members of the children rescued during ‘Operation Muskaan’ waiting at the Police Commissioner’s office in Vijayawada.

Family members of the children rescued during ‘Operation Muskaan’ waiting at the Police Commissioner’s office in Vijayawada.   | Photo Credit: V. RAJU

Caretakers of two shelter homes say a few escaped during protests by parents

The ‘Operation Muskaan’ carried out jointly by police and some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), became a controversy with 22 children rescued during the operation not being produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

The NGO home caretakers, in which the children were kept for about 24 hours, said the rescued victims and their parents staged protests, damaged doors, windows and furniture of the shelter and a few managed to escape in the melee.

According to Police Commissioner Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao, 128 children, including six girls, were rescued during the drive by the police and Childline, on Saturday. The children were provided shelter at Nava Jeevan Bala Bhavan (NJBB), SKCV Children’s Trust and another girls shelter home in the city.

On Saturday night, parents of some children reached the NGO homes and asked that their children be sent home with them. When police said that children could be handed over only after being produced before the CWC, the angered parents and children damaged the furniture and glass panes in NJBB. The parents staged a protest in front of the SKCV Trust, located at Gandhi Nagar.

Speaking to The Hindu, CWC Chairman B.V.S. Kumar said that police and the Childline representatives produced only 106 children, including five girls, on Sunday and they were referred to three homes.

NJBB director N. Ratna Kumar said the parents and the rescued children created ruckus in the home and damaged some furniture. A few youth escaped same night, he said.

SKCV chairman A. Sridhar Reddy said parents of some children, rescued during ‘Operation Muskaan’, staged a protest at the home, and the situation went out of control for sometime.

“My son is 18 years. Police picked him up and branded him as child labour. We produced the Aadhaar and ration cards and family photographs. But, the police refused to release him,” said the mother of a youth.

“Police put my son who is 16 years in police station and shifted him to the Police Commissioner’s office. He is not a criminal. Police detained him and did not allow us to see or speak with him,” bemoaned the mother of another boy displaying the ID and other proofs of his son.

Satyanarayanapuram Circle Inspector (CI) B. Bala Murali Krishna said the organisers of NJBB did not lodge any complaint on misbehaving of the children or their parents. Governorpet CI M.V.S. Nagaraju said the department officials pacified the parents, when they argued with home organisers and demanded that their children be released.

“As there was no CWC hearing on Saturday, we waited for just one additional day,” the Circle Inspector said.

Childline city coordinator A. Ramesh said it was a fact that the family members of some children staged protest and create tension at the homes late in the night on Saturday. The police and the Childline representatives explained to the parents the legal procedure for release of the children and pacified them, he said.

However, representatives of various child rights organisations criticise police for detaining the children and shifting them to different places and demanded that they be given details of the 22 missing children.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 2:42:31 PM |

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