Childline centre registers 21 begging cases in two months
The Navi Mumbai police have long been claiming that they are on the verge of making the city beggar- free. But, the statistics received from the city’s only childline centre shows a different scenario.
Just within two and a half months, the centre has received as many as 21 cases of children begging.
They claim that several children are being forced to beg on the city roads by groups running begging rackets. The children are brought in different vehicles in the morning and taken back in the evening. However, no such rackets have been busted in the city so far.
The ministry of women and child development permitted a Navi Mumbai- based NGO, Aarambh, to open the childline centre to work for the welfare of such children. It was started on September 24.
If anyone spots a child with some suspicious people or being harassed by someone or loitering at a public place, he or she can call the 24x7 toll- free number 1098. The members of the NGO will reach the spot and rescue the child.
“As soon as we receive a call informing about a child begging on the road, we instantly send our members to the spot. We try and track their parents. In some cases the families are very poor and unable to feed the children. We ensure that such children get food at home without begging and send rations to them regularly. As of now, we are sending rations to seven families. We receive the money for it from some individual donors,” said Shobha Murthy, founder of the NGO.
“In many cases their parents earn money, but they don’t tell their children to stop begging. We counsel such parents and convince them to send their children to school,” she added.
The centre has also tracked some child beggars who are orphans. They are planning to send them to a ashram after consulting the police and members of Child Welfare Committee (CWC).
“After completing the legal formalities we will send them to ashrams or similar places in different parts of the state, where they can continue with their education,” another member said.
However, the biggest challenge comes when the beggar children belong to a racket. Such children remain scared to tell their background and are not ready for receiving any help from anyone.
Murthy said, “Recently we found a child near Rabale railway station. As we approached him, he said he would be beaten up by his bosses if he did not pay the money he got from begging. We tried to catch him to get more details but he ran away and got lost in the melee. The police need to pay attention to this menace for ensuring safety of the children.”
Pushpalata Dighe, police inspector of child protection unit of Navi Mumbai, said, “We are taking initiatives to curb the menace of child beggars in the city. We are also trying to find if begging rackets are active and will take strict action if we find any.”
The childline centre also received a total of 71 cases in last two and a half months. While 53 cases have already been solved, they are still working on 18 other cases.