Cuttack: The Odisha Police, which had participated in the countrywide Operation Smile-2 campaign in January this year to trace out missing children from Odisha and other states, have achieved significant success rescuing 515 children, 185 of them during the second phase of the drive that ended yesterday.
Briefing newsmen here, DG, Crime Branch, BK Sharma said the 185 children rescued in the second phase of Operation Smile 2 from January 16 to 31 were traced from places ouside the state.
“Ten police team, along with representatives from W&CD Department, had been sent to 10 states like Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Each team had two women members. The teams have been able to trace out 185 children from these states. During the Operation Smile-1 campaign last year, we had traced out 87 missing children from other states,” Sharma said.
Of the 185 rescued children the state police have rescued, 80 were recsued from Andhra Pradesh and 30 from Telangana, Sharma said, thanking Inspectors Padma Muthu (Berhampur police district) and Anand Chandra Patra (Kandhamal district) for their leadership and efforts in the rescue of these children from these two states.
He also said the other teams have rescued 12 children from Chhattisgarh, 8 from Delhi, 7 from Mahatrashtra, 27 from West Bengal and 12 from Tamil Nadu.
“You will be astonished that most of these rescued children were traced out in the childcare centres. Initially, the children were unwilling to come with us. But after the counselling, they agreed to come with us. After completing all formalities, we are bringing these children. We have contacted their family members to hand over their children in a couple of days,” he added.
He further said the State Police would keep the remaining children at the childcare units since the address of their families is not available. The Women and Child Development department would take care of these children at the childcare units.
He said during the first leg of the campaign from January 1-15, the special teams had carried out search operation in all the districts for the missing children whose names were registered by the police.
“During the search operation, which was carried out from January 1 to 15 inside the state during the first phase Operation Smile-2, police were able to recover 330 children of whom some have been handed over to their family while others have been kept at rehabilitation centres,” he added.