Press Trust of india

Drive underway to rescue children in street situation in Jammu

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Jammu: As many as 18 children forced into begging or labour were rescued over the past couple of days in the city by a special task force constituted to deal with such cases, officials here said on Sunday.

The task force was set up by Deputy Commissioner (Jammu) Avny Lavasa to collect information on Children in Street Situation (CISS) and carry out rescue operations within the ecosystem created by the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.

The task force members include the senior superintendent of police, chief medical officer, district child protection officer, assistant labour commissioner, the NGO Kitaab aur Kalam Foundation and Childline (Jammu).

“We have rescued 18 children, including two girls, below the age of 14 years, from different hotspot areas in the city over the past couple of days. The children were then produced before the Child Welfare Committee for their proper rehabilitation,” Arti Choudhary, Protection Officer of the Social Welfare department’s Mission Vatsalya, said.

She said the drive was initiated in busy marketplaces, outside religious sites, traffic signals, posh localities, including Gandhi Nagar, Vikram Chowk and Bohu Plaza, immediately after the joint task force was set up on Tuesday. 

Its focus remained on children being forced to beg, work as rag pickers, sell articles or engage in labour work at construction sites, she added.

“Children are the future of our nation and we have to end this disease to protect their childhood. After rescuing a child, verification is done to know whether he or she is from within or outside Jammu and Kashmir and a rehabilitation plan is chalked out accordingly,” Choudhary said.

The official said the rescued children have been admitted to child care institutions where proper diet, counselling and medical care are available.

Since most of the children rescued are from Rajasthan, efforts are underway to establish contact with the authorities concerned to ensure that they are linked to government schemes for their proper rehabilitation in their home districts, she said.

The rescued children will be enrolled in Anganwadi centres or schools and their information uploaded in the CISS portal so that they are not dragged back into begging or labour.

In her order, the deputy commissioner said the inspection-cum-rescue drive will be done every fortnight.

“The task force shall adopt standard operating procedures suggested by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for restoration of rescued children,” Lavasa said.

She said all the rescued children will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee, which will then pass appropriate orders for their rehabilitation, including orders for family counselling and enrollment in nearby schools or vocational centres.

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