‘Operation Smile-II’ to rescue missing children from Jan 1

Cuttack: ‘Operation Smile-II’, the second round of the hugely successful first round of the initiaitive aimed at tracing and rescuing missing children in the country launched by the Union Home ministry last year, would be launched in Odisha from January 1. The decision was taken at a meeting today to discuss successful execution of the operation in 2016 at the police headquarters here today.

Odisha Crime Branch ADG, KV Singh along with 100 officers of Odisha Police and Commissionerate Police were present in the meeting to decide a blue print for successful implementation.

“Operation Smile-II will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will start from January 1 and will continue till 15th within the State. The second phase, to begin from January 16 and end on January 31, will be carried outside the State. 10 police teams have been constituted for the drive – nine of Odisha police and one from Commissionerate police. Each team will comprise of a minimum of five police personnel at least two of whom would be lady police officers,” a source privy to the deliberations at the meeting revealed after the meeting.

Odisha Police have preliminary information on about 2,500 missing children from the State. Based on the information, Crime Branch sleuths would visit different places to rescue them, the source added.

“Police have also obtained information about missing Odia children outside the State in places including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Nasik. The children have been traced in temples, brick kilns, orphanages, children homes etc,” said Crime Branch ADG, BK Sharma.

Moreover, a WhatsApp group has also been created and is being monitored by the Crime Branch IG. Police personnel will send pictures and details of the children identified by them on WhatsApp, which will then be sent to the respective police stations by the Crime Branch for verification. The respective police stations will verify the photographs and details of the children with their parents and upon confirmation, the children will be brought back, sources revealed.

The operation was quite successful this year and efforts will be stepped up to replicate the success in 2016 well.

Notably, under Operation Smile-I, around 30,000 children were rescued across the country. In Odisha, police have rescued 900 children. The highest number of children rescued were from Jajpur district, followed by Kalahandi and Mayurbhanj districts.