Op­er­a­tion Smile: 6 chil­dren re­united with fam­ily af­ter 14 years

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - NAVI MUMBAI - Pranab Jy­oti Bhuyan pranab.bhuyan@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.”

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