Bhubaneswar: Two homeless children, who were forced to pick up corpses from railway tracks in Odisha, were rescued, an official said Monday.
The Child Welfare Committee (CWC), a semi-judicial body, has launched a probe into the matter.
Two boys, one 17-year-old and another 15-year-old, were rescued by the volunteers of government-run Childline from the railway station in Cuttack town, 26 km from here.
The Childline presented them before the local CWC Friday. They told the committee that the Government Railway Police (GRP) officials had used them to lift corpses from railway tracks.
The boys said they were not only lifting the corpses but were also carrying the bodies to the postmortem chamber of a nearby hospital and cut and expose the organs for examination by doctors, the chairman of the CWC Bikash Mohapatra told IANS.
The elder boy said he had carried as many as 100 bodies during his three-year stay at the railway station and the other boy helped him, he said.
If the children refused to do the job, railway police personal allegedly beat them up. Police were paying them about Rs.300-Rs.500 towards disposal of each body, the boy said.
Mohapatra said the boys, who are now in the care of a district administration-managed shelter home, were rescued during a special drive to rehabilitate the destitute minors living at the railway stations and other places in the city.
"We have taken suo moto cognizance and launched a probe. We have also directed the hospital authorities, railway police and other concerned to investigate the matter and submit a report to the committee in 15 days," he said.
It was not an isolated case, Mohapatra said, adding that there are reports of destitute children having been exploited by police at other railway stations too.