16 runaway children reunited with parents

16 runaway children reunited with parents

Several boys from Karnataka, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh who had been rescued by the NGO Saathi from Yeshwantpur railway station in the city were reunited with their families on Wednesday.

Children who had runaway from home, lost their way or had landed in the station without proper documents were rescued over the week by the NGO and they received counselling and care before being reunited with their parents.

Anupama Hegde, Chairman, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) addressed the parents of these children, informing them of existing laws for the protection of children and of the various schemes provided by the government for their education. Appreciating the NGO for its, she said: “You have full support from CWC, however, you need to work within the framework of the law.” If the children are being kept in their custody for more than 24 hours, they have to produce them before the CWC and obtain permission for the same, she clarified.

D Mallika, mother of Hemanth Kumar was in tears on seeing her child. Kumar had runaway from his school in Rajajinagar with a plan to meet his friend at Yeshwantpur railway station where he was found by Saathi volunteers. Apart from Kumar, 15 children were reunited with their parents.

Not everyone was as thankful. M D Ashraf, was irked that the NGO had taken his nephew who was coming to the city from Araria district in Bihar along with an acquaintance to spend Eid with him. “Wakram studies at a Madrasa and he has holidays now for Eid. I thought I would take him around, buy him some clothes. But they stopped him at the railway station”, he said.

The NGO defended itself saying that most often children say that the person along with them is their relative but on probing further it is revealed that they are being brought here for labour. “We have to take these steps to ensure that the child is not exploited,” said programme manager Ashish Shukla.

(Names of the children and their relatives have been changed.)

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