Chennai: In a joint-drive involving the City Police, the Social Welfare department and NGOs, as many as 76 children who were found begging in the streets were rescued, and as many ‘handlers’, who were claiming to be either parents or relatives, were arrested on Friday.
The drive which began in the morning culminated in the evening with the rescue of children from various locations spread across the City from Marina beach, crowded junctions, road junctions, and traffic junctions, among other places.
The drive follows a high-level meeting chaired by City Police Commissioner Karan Singha with R. Lalvena, Commissioner, Social Defence, ST Lakshmi Ramesh, Chairperson, Juvenile Justice Board, and Additional Commissioners of Police - K. Shankar (South), and H.M. Jayaraman(North), on Thursday.
It was decided that Police District level decentralised raids be conducted across the City with C. Shyamala Devi, ADC, Central Crime Branch, and S. Senthil Kumar, ADC, Prohibition Enforcement Wing (South). The number of rescued was evenly spread across all 12 Police Districts in the City.
“The rescued children were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) which upon hearing the children sent them to State-run homes and recognised ones for safe custody and rehabilitation”, a senior police official told Deccan Chronicle.
“Most of them were parents. However, the CWC had given time for those claiming to be parents and relatives to establish their relationship with the child with documentary evidence. We would pursue it on a case-by-case basis. We would act upon racketeers, if any, if they were found forcing the children into begging.
The investigation in the case is at a preliminary stage. A lot of work has to go in to ascertain the all the aspects involved in forcing children into begging.
We would continue our drive to make the City free of begging and rehabilitating those involved in it.
This is a serious issue. Adults have forums for redressal whereas these children have forums which had to have an outreach covering them since most of the children do not have access to these forums”, the official added....