As many as 247 minors were rescued from Mumbai by the city police as part of the drive carried out under ‘Operation Muskan’ in July.
The police said the highest number – 154 –were those who had fled their homes over petty reasons.
Following directions by the central government, the police began the drive as part of Operation Muskan to rescue juveniles found either in child labour, begging or abandoned on the streets.
The drive was carried out between July 1 and 31.
“As part of the drive, the Juvenile Aid and Protection Unit (JAPU) and the police stations traced 247 children. Of them, 61 were found begging and 32 were working as child labourers. These children were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and they will be reunited with their parents,” said Pravinkumar Patil, deputy commissioner (enforcement).
The police have also started seeking a daily report from CWC officials in a bid to ascertain the actual figure of the underage children handed over to them.
“There are instances when common citizens find lost children on the streets and directly take them to the children’s home. A daily report from CWC officials will help us get clarity on their actual numbers,” Patil said.
In all, 416 underage beggars were rescued by the police in 2015 till August and as many as 198 were arrested for pushing them into begging, the police said.
In most cases, family members or guardians were accused of pushing children into begging. These people live on the earnings of the juveniles.
As prosecuting those accused under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act was not acting as a deterrent, the police have now begun filing cases under the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act and the Indian Penal Code.