2,610 missing children from Odisha rescued

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Cuttack: Scouting all districts of the Odisha and several other states for about a month, joint teams of Odisha Police, Women & Child Development (WCD) and Labour departments have rescued at least 2,610 children, who had either gone missing or had ran away from their homes for different reasons.

According to officials, 339 of these rescued children were girls, including minors. Over 900 children were also rescued in a similar effort under ‘Operation Smile’ last year.

Officials said the rescued children would be produced before their respective district Child Welfare Committees for either restoration with their parents or suitably rehabilitated in child care institutes.

Following a Supreme Court direction in 2013 in a case related to Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the state government has undertaken the exercise to rescue the missing children of the state for last three years.

The Apex Court in the same order had stated all cases of missing children were to be registered as FIRs of cognisable offences and thorough investigations were to be made presuming them to be crimes of kidnapping or trafficking, unless proven otherwise.

Similarly, the Supreme Court had also directed to have a trained police officer as Juvenile Welfare Officer (JWO) in each police station and all complaints of non-cognisable offences pertaining to children were to be investigated after referring them to a magistrate.

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