Operation Smile: Goa joins nation

January 05, 2016 10:00 am | Updated September 22, 2016 10:11 pm IST - Panaji:

The Goa police on Monday decided to join the nation-wide drive of “Operation Smile” to reunite missing children with their parents. The Union Home Ministry has recently asked the police to revive the drive which was launched around two years ago with the issue of missing children gaining serious proportion. Moreover, a meeting convened by the National Child Rights Commission on Thursday in New Delhi, to be attended by State commission representatives will focus on this issue of missing children and trafficking.

Goa Inspector General of Police V. Renganathan who chaired a State-level meeting of the police held here on Monday, which was attended by police officials, non-governmental organisations(NGOs) and

other stakeholders, decided to verify identifications of homeless children or found alone at public places.

“We have given instructions to all our police stations to verify children found alone at bus stands, railway stations beach shacks(eateries on beaches) and tourist coastline ,” Mr. Renganathan told The Hindu on Tuesday.

He said that two issues were prominently raised by NGOs that often such children found and handed over to Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) are to be mandatorily handed over to their guardians as per the provisions of the Goa Children’s Act. However, in most of the cases it is found that such children are invariably back on to the streets doing various things on beaches or in other areas of the tourist State. Secondly, several NGOs protested that according to the mandate of the law the children which are found or apprehended and handed over by police or NGOs to CWCs have to be handed over to guardians by the latter with an order passed by at least two members of CWC. However, often it is seen that such orders are passed by a single member.

Mr. Ranganathan felt that it would be appropriate for Commissions for Protection of Child Rights to take up these issues for appropriate action.

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