Mumbai cops launch 5-day drive to rescue child beggars
In a special drive to curb the increasing number of children begging on the city’s streets, the Mumbai police are rescuing kids from traffic signals, beaches and religious and tourist spots. The five-day drive was started on Monday, after several senior police officers and bureaucrats saw the kids begging at traffic signals.
Most of the time, the kids are kidnapped from other cities and states, brought to Mumbai and forced into begging. File pic
The police are taking the help of the Child Welfare Committee to rehabilitate the children and reunite them with their families. They have also decided to act against those who force kids into begging. Following a meeting with officials of the Women and Child Welfare ministry, Home Secretary Vineet Agarwal decided to start the drive from Monday.
“With the help of every police station and the Juvenile Aid Protection Unit (JAPU), we will try to rescue as many child beggars as we can in the city,” said Pravin Patil, deputy commissioner of police (enforcement). Police stations that have prominent areas like Gateway of India, Haji Ali, Mahim Dargah, CST and beaches under their jurisdiction are expected to rescue the highest number of children.
“After the drive, every station will submit a report by September 29. If prominent police stations, like Colaba, are unable to rescue a high number of children, they will have to provide reasons for that,” said a senior police officer.
Officials said that since the number of child beggars in the city is high, the JAPU has a hard time rescuing them alone. Most of the time, these kids are kidnapped from other cities and states, brought to Mumbai and forced into begging.
Senior police officers hope that if they are able to rescue the children, they will make a dent in the kidnapping racket as well. “Children will be reunited with their families or taken to the Child Welfare Committee for rehabilitation.
If they are found to have been kidnapped, we will take stringent action against the people who have forced them into begging,” said a police inspector.