Rangareddy (Telangana): Police busted a major child trafficking racket and rescued 54 children from the traffickers as a part of ‘Operation Smile’ on Tuesday.
Police also arrested seven people in connection with the trafficking racket.
The arrested suspects were identified as Mohammed Aslam (50), Shaik Mohammed Riyaz (30), Mohammed Ahsan (22), Shaik Habeeb (66),
Mohammed Musleem (36), Mohammed Asgar (18) and Mohammed Naseem Akram (22), all natives of Bihar. Another four suspects in the case are absconding, police said.
“On the intervening night of July 12 and 13, the patrolling team of Balapur saw two children standing near a hotel, not knowing where to go. When we approached them, they were unable to speak in Telugu, which confirmed the fact that they were not from Telangana. Since they looked tensed, our team brought the two children to Balapur police station. We offered them snacks and water. The children then said that there were many children like them working in bangle factory in the area, who needed help,” said Saidulu, Inspector of Police Balapur.
“Based on the leads given by the children, teams were formed to rescue the children employed in the bangle factory. With eight teams about 12 houses were raided in the area along with the bangle making factory, and these 54 children were rescued,” he added.
Speaking to ANI, Mahesh M Bhagwat, Commissioner of Police Rachakonda, said, “Operation Smile started on 1st of this month as per instructions given by the state police department. We are happy that we were able to achieve this major breakthrough in the beginning of this operation.”
“Employing children and forcing them to work under hazardous condition amounts to severe punishment. When our team raided the bangle-making factory, things which would shake humanitarian feelings came to light. These children who were rescued are in the age group of 10 to 16 years.
They used to be locked inside houses so that they do not go out. They were forced to sleep in places where goats and sheep used to be tied up, and they were not even given hygienic food,” he added.
Bhagwat said the kingpin of the racket, Mohammed Aslam, had brought all the children from Bihar by luring their parents of a better life for the children.
“The rescued children have been sent to Saidabad rescue home, and Rachakonda police would be providing financial compensation to the children. Post investigation, the children would be sent back to their respective families. Anyone who gets any information about minor children being employed in hazardous places should alert the police immediately,” he added.