541 children rescued from labour, begging

Hyderabad: The 5th phase of the annual operation to rescue children from bonded labour and begging has brought dividends with the Cyberabad police rescuing 541 children in July, the highest number in the state.

The Cyberabad commissioner said that investigating officials also noticed that Aadhar cards of most of the rescued children mentioned birth dates as 01-01-2000 or 01-01-2001. The police had formed teams for the nine divisions under its jurisdiction to conduct the search and rescue operations.

Officials also registered 247 FIR’s under Section 374 of IPC; 75 and 79 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 and under Section 14 of the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation (Amendment) Act 2016.

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Operation Muskaan was started by the Telangana police with the aim to trace missing children, children involved in child labour, bonded labour, children working in micro industries, those begging on streets and trafficked children, rescue them and reunite them with their parents or relatives.

In this year’s operation, officials used facial recognition software of Telangana Police to identify children involved in begging and labour.

Speaking to the media, Cyberabad Police Commissioner VC Sajjanar described said how Muskaan team rescued 15 children from a spinning mill in Medchal on July 15. “The rescued children, aged between 14 and 17 years, hailed from Maharashtra, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam.

The children were made to work in hazardous conditions at Sri Rama Spinning Mill in Medchal,” he said, adding that 10 other minors were rescued from a metals factory in Mailardevpally on July 16.

These children were made to do metal moulding work and operate heavy machinery in high temperatures. Also, three HIV-positive children were rescued while begging at BHEL crossroads. The kids revealed that their parents died of HIV/AIDS and they were being taken care of by their relatives who force them to beg.

They said that they were not given food if they failed to bring homeless Rs 1,500 every day.

The common trait among all the rescued children was that they were made to work from dawn to dusk without a break and made to live in the unhygienic condition in small rooms.

They were poorly fed; sometimes only a bowl of rice and watery dal twice a day.

Officials also stumbled upon middlemen who paid about Rs 10,000 to parents of children and brought them from the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam and other states.

Most of the kids were malnourished, had stunted growth and other health issues. The children working in metal welding works had injuries on their hands and impaired eyesight. Children rescued from cotton spinning mills suffered from bronchitis and were covered with fine dust from head to toe.

Authored by Mohammed Hussain


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