Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Missing Children: Cops to record details of unescorted minors in city

In a state wide effort to trace and reunite missing minors with their families, the Maharashtra police, following a directive from the state government, has undertaken a campaign wherein all unescorted minors as well as those in the company of beggars, hawkers and other such people will be photographed and interviewed by police personnel.

The photographs of the children will also be uploaded on a state government- run website so that anyone can go through them and look for their missing children.

According to Maharashtra police sources, around 15,000 minors have been reported missing from 2010 till date, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development recently instructed the police to undertake the campaign to try and trace as many of them as possible.

The campaign, Operation Muskaan, will be enforced from July 1 to July 31 this year.

The Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was appointed as the nodal agency to spearhead the campaign, and accordingly, the CID issued instructions to all police units in the state and also conducted a training programme for them earlier this month.

“We held a one-day training programme for heads of Juvenile Aid Police Units (JAPUs) of all commissionerates and districts in the state on June 25, during which we instructed them about the campaign. The same instructions were also sent out in writing to all unit heads. The idea is to create a database of all the minors in the state as well as to try to trace missing children,” said Additional Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar, CID.

Explaining the working of the campaign, Kumar said that policemen have been instructed to photograph any minor that they come across at spots like railway stations, bus stops, temples, traffic signals, as well as those in orphanages and remand homes, and also fill out a questionnaire after speaking to them.

The questionnaire has only basic questions seeking information about the child, and in case the policeman find anything suspicious, further action can also be taken. “It is a common sight to see a woman with a child at traffic signals or such places, and the child might not always be hers. If the policeman who speaks to the woman and the child in her company finds something suspicious, action like DNA comparison can also be taken,” said Kumar.

All the photographs taken by the policemen will then be uploaded to the stater government website Anyone in the country can access these photographs in case they are looking for a missing child.

On Tuesday, the Navi Mumbai police and the Mumbai Railway Police announced that they would be kicking off the drive from July 1.

“Any minors that are found to be kidnapped or runaways during this drive will be handed over to the Child Welfare Committee. Their parents can then approach the CWC and take them into their custody as per the legal process,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Suresh Mengade, Navi Mumbai.

The Railway police’s drive, meanwhile, will focus on all minors staying in or working in commercial establishments on railway premises, said a Railway police officer.

Wednesday 1 July 2015


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