Three teenagers back in custody after escaping Dongri Children’s HomeUpdated: Jul 01, 2020 00:18 IST
The three teenagers who had escaped from the Dongri Children’s Home on Tuesday, returned during the night hours. All three were runaway kids and were in custody of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), since over six months.
The teenaged kids, after finding all trains, buses, and transportation mediums non-operarional and shops shut due to the lockdown, returned to the children’s home in the night. During their brief period outside, they visited Gateway of India, in Colaba, officials said.
The Dongri police had launched a hunt for the three. The teenagers were of age 14, 16 and 17, and originally hailed from Darchula district in Nepal, Supaul in Bihar and Dawla in West Bengal, respectively.
On Tuesday afternoon, during their kitchen gardening training, they excused themselves to attend nature’s call. They managed to dodge guard’s attention and escaped from the main gate, said an official from Dongri Children’s Home.
“The three have tendency of escaping. They have escaped from their homes at least five times in the past. They were brought to the children home as missing kids. Their families knew that their kids are in safe custody in Mumbai,” said Rahul Kanthikar, superintendent of Dongri Children’s Home.
The kids at the children’s home are anxious due to the pandemic. Two kids and a nurse had tested positive for Covid-19 in April. “We are worried about the kids as probably they are not completely aware about the conditions outside. The lockdown is in effect and even if they attempt to escape the city, they won’t be able to do so, as trains and other public transport mediums are not operational,” said another official.
Teenagers’ escape was captured in the CCTV cameras installed near the Children’s Home. The three were in the uniform and were wearing mask.
Hindustan Times in its June 22 edition had published a report explaining how around 75 rescued children are ‘stranded’ in Dongri Children Home since last three months, and cannot be re-united with their families as authorities of other states refused to take them, citing spread of novel coronavirus as the reason. These kids are rescued by the police from various factories, small scale units, where they were being exploited as child labours. Some of them are rescued from child trafficking rackets, some are street kids and missing kids, while some are runaway kids.
Usually the CWC re-unite the rescued kids with their families in maximum one month’s time, but due to the lockdown, not a single kid was reunited in the past three months.
The longer stay of kids at the children home has left adverse impact on children’s psyche. They are facing problems such as anxiety, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, feeling low, mood swings, drop in daily activities, etc, said officials. Women and Child Development commissioner Hrishikesh Yashod had too admitted that the kids are anxious, panic and are in stress because of the lockdown. The commissioner had said that there is reluctant approach of the administration of other states. Unavailability of police escort party is also an issue. However, efforts are being taken to re-unite the kids with their families.