Operation Smile: 6 children reunited with family after 14 years
NAVI MUMBAI: The anti- human trafficking cell of Navi Mumbai police recently reunited six children who had gone missing from different places of Mumbai around 14 years ago.
According to the police, the six children — two boys and four girls — had gone missing in 2002- 2003 and were admit- ted to Shanti Niketan ashram Rasayani in Raigad district. All of them were two to three-yearold then.
However, following a sex scandal exposed in June last year, the members of child welfare committee learnt that the ashram was being run without any permission from the authorities concerned and closed it immediately.
“The children, who were tak- ing shelter in that ashram, were shifted to other orphanages of Kharghar, Khand Colony and other places of Navi Mumbai,” said Pushpalata Dighe, police inspector of Navi Mumbai antihuman trafficking cell.
As a part of Operation Smile, the police took details of the children from Rasayani police and called the people who had brought the children there. “Later, we traced the parents and other family members of those children with help of other activists. They are now in city’s children homes. For now, the CWC has allowed their parents to meet them once a month,” added Dighe.
The police said that the children were not kidnapped.
“None of these children were kidnapped. They went missing in crowded places, markets among others and then some people took them to the ashram in Rasayani. The parents have told us they had lost all hopes of finding their missing children. We are disclosing much about the identities of the children as the sex scandal case registered last year is still under litigation,” Dighe added.
Dilip Sawant, deputy commissioner of police ( crime), said: “Our officials are working to find out as many missing people as possible and we hope to achieve a big success by this month-end.”
Operation smile is a central government initiative to trace the missing children and its first part was conducted in early 2015.
Navi Mumbai police commissioner Prabhat Ranjan said, “We have briefed our officers on the Act pertaining to missing children, the process to be followed and steps that need to taken to find the missing children.”