Children back on streets two months after Operation Mukti in Doon
About two months since the police headquarters concluded its intensive campaign against child begging ‘Operation Mukti’ in Dehradun, child beggars can be seen on the streets once again. These kids are either selling cotton candy near Gandhi Park or are simply begging near traffic signals at Tehsil Chowk, Prince Chowk and other locations. A social activist alleged that the campaign was nothing but a hoax and now neither police nor any of the stakeholders are keeping a check on the children who were rescued during the campaign. It is important to mention here that Uttarakhand police is presently conducting the second phase of Operation Mukti in Haridwar.
The activist further said, “This is not something that we did not expect. The entire campaign was a hoax and was done without proper end result. The idea was to rehabilitate these kids so that they can get education first. However, since the starting this or any other campaign for that matter has a flaw. The authorities first need to find an alternate medium through which these children can also sustain themselves. Their psychology is different from other children. They are living in different conditions and in most cases are self dependent. You suddenly can’t expect them to leave their routine life, where they know that they’ll get paid in the end.”
He further said, “Firstly, It was not police’s duty to initiate a programme like this- what are institutions like child welfare committee, child line, State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights exactly doing? In most of the cases these independent institutions either come after the mishap or they do not come at all. However, the police department itself started the campaign for whatever purpose and utterly failed to achieve the goal.”
He added, “Secondly, during the conclusion of the campaign in Dehradun several stakeholders claimed to continue the good work. However, because they are not getting any media coverage now and no one will ever hold them accountable, the entire campaign was just a waste of time and human resource.”
A senior district police officer on the condition of anonymity said that they keep a check on children, however as presently majority of the police force is involved in election duty and other law and order cases, the children concerned have gotten room for stepping outside. Though, education department and stakeholders were supposed to keep a check on their development, but no legal accountability was set.
It is pertinent to mention here that during the campaign conducted in Dehradun, district police and anti-trafficking units identified 292 street children, who were either found begging in the streets or were selling balloons or doing some other work. Three of the identified children were also found to be under the influence of intoxicants. The campaign at the time was successful in enrolling 68 children in schools including one admitted in Model School of National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities (NIEPVD).
Saturday, 28 September 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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