In a massive drive, the Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs) in association with Labour, Women Development and Child Welfare (WD&CW), Education and other departments rescued 3,636 children during Operation Muskaan in the State on Saturday.
Following the directions of Director General of Police (DGP) D. Gautam Sawang, police formed about 1,000 teams and conducted drive at public places since dawn and rescued the children working in various establishments and in hazardous conditions.
The rescued kids also included runaway children and orphans.
“Of the total rescued, 3,039 were boys and 597 were girls. The victims are from Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and other States,” the DGP said.
Instructions have been given to the Police Commissioners and Superintendents of Police to provide shelter and counselling and reunite them with their families.
“In case of children from other States, police will send them to their parents through the Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) of the States concerned. We will take the help of Labour, Education, Juvenile Welfare and the WD&CW Department and follow the legal procedure in handing over the rescued children to their parents,” Mr. Sawang said.
Mr. Sawang said that cases would be registered against those who engage children for work. The education officers would admit the children in nearby schools, and the establishment owners would be booked for violating the Right to Education Act (RTE).
In bad shape
Vijayawada Police Commissioner Ch. Dwaraka Tirumala Rao said a few rescued children in the city were in a very bad shape. They were unhygienic and anaemic.
“Out of 128 children rescued on Saturday, 122 are boys and the rest girls and they hailed from eight States. Police are studying the victims case by case. They will be handed over to their parents through CWC,” Mr. Tirumala Rao said.
The Krishna district police rescued 245 children, of which many were dropouts and some never enrolled in schools. More than 50 teams conducted the drive at bus and railway stations, parks and other public places, said Krishna SP M. Ravindranath Babu.
In East Godavari district, 89 children were rescued. About 77 teams conducted the drive in hotels, shops, garages, cinema halls, restaurants and industries, said Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem Asmi.
“CWC member B. Padmavathi, District Child Protection Officer Ch. Venkat Rao, Assistant Labour Officer Tummala Nagalakshmi and DSPs of different wings counselled the children and their parents,” Mr. Nayeem said.