ACP Vasant Dhoble is now training his guns on those who force children into begging.
The assistant commissioner of police, social service branch, led an SSB team on a raid of the Girgaum chowpatty area on Wednesday. The team rescued 24 children forced into begging. The children were aged between one-and-a-half to 11 years. This is the first such raid by the SSB on those forcing children into begging.
Eight women have been arrested for making the rescued children beg at signals near the Girgaum chowpatty beach, and a case has been registered at the Gamdevi police station under The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, and under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959.
Dhoble said that the children have been sent to the rehabilitation home at Dongri, while those arrested have been handed over to the Gamdevi police for further investigation.
The women are mostly from Solapur district, though some are from Karnataka. “They are claiming to be the mothers of the children rescued. However, the police will be verifying this claim,” Dhoble said.
Dhoble is known for targeting bars for flouting norms and also for rescuing child labourers. His actions have polarised citizens: there was outrage among the city’s youth after news of his raids came to the fore, but he found support among Bandra and Khar residents.