Seventeen minor children who were forced to beg by a criminal gang were rescued during a raid by police in Kota that also resulted in the arrest of 13 people, an official said on Wednesday.
The raid on a lodge near Kota railway station was conducted jointly by the Anti-Human Trafficking Cell and Child Line, a unit of Rajasthan’s women and child development department, said Anti-Human Trafficking cell circle inspector Kaneez Fatima.
“Seventeen children between the age group of 8 and 14 years, who were forced to beg at the Kota railway station, were rescued and 13 women, four of them below 18, arrested in the raid on Wednesday morning under the Bheemganjmandi police station area,” she said.
“The accused and the children have been in Kota for the last one-and-half months and staying in Sriram lodge near the railway station. They were under the watch of cell personnel and Child Line members for the last three days.”
The police official further said that the gang used to steal expensive household items from shops.
Household items like fresh blankets, leather bags, utensils and dresses and Rs. 60,000 were recovered from the lodge, she said, adding that the accused claimed that the items were donations received by them. Pamphlets describing the women as victims of Uttrakhand calamity and demanding donations in Urdu and Hindi have also been recovered from their possession, Fatima said.
The children were produced before the Child Welfare Committee. A case under sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and Indian Penal Code will be lodged against the women in Bheemganjmandi police station, she said.
Further investigation into the case is still on, Fatima said.
The rescued children have been sent to different childcare centres in the city, said coordinator Childline Cinesh Sharma.