Mumbai police to check ragpickers in Sion-Ghatkopar region to locate missing children | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Mumbai police to check ragpickers in Sion-Ghatkopar region to locate missing children

The court, while hearing a petition regarding a missing child, said the check will help rescue many children who may have been forced into such work

mumbai Updated: Nov 27, 2017 13:22 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
The police will look for missing children in areas such as Chembur, Govandi, Mankhurd and Deonar.(HT File)

The Mumbai police has assured the Bombay high court that it will scan the entire stretch from Sion to Ghatkopar, covering areas such as Chembur, Govandi, Mankhurd and Deonar, to try and trace missing children who have been engaged forcibly in the collection and segregation of scrap materials.

The assurance came recently, after a division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre expressed concern that many children might have been kidnapped and engaged forcibly in the collection and segregation of scrap by dealers, as it’s a big business in Mumbai.

The court was hearing a petition filed by a Bainganwadi resident, whose minor son is missing. The judges were irked to note that though some of his school mates said they had seen him in Govandi carrying a big plastic sack on his back, the police had not taken heed, though an FIR has been registered in connection with the missing child.

“We expect the count and identification to result in something fruitful, if not in finding this minor child, at least in rescuing several others who may be caught in the net and are being exploited,” the bench said.

“It is impossible to penetrate an illegal trade, particularly in scrap and garbage in this city,” said the bench. “The extent of garbage and scrap generated on account of the immense population provides those with fertile imagination and brains ideas to make money and make that a regular business.”

“This is an organised and regular business activity, and we are happy that the police machinery now at least knows it,” the court said. “It does not, however, know as to who is involved and who is the kingpin, in the sense who is instrumental in ensuring that the entire garbage or the scrap is collected, handed over to traders and businessmen and thereafter they make goods and articles or commodities.”

The court also expressed concern that many of the missing children may also be forced to work as drug peddlers.

“There are regular pavement dwellers and people sleeping on footpaths, setting up a house and cooking food and we ignore them thinking that on account of abject poverty, they are living in such sub-human conditions,” the bench said. Such colonies are seen along railway lines and on unprotected railway properties, and eventually these easy-to-access spaces facilitate criminal activities. “We see that such persons then set up illegal businesses, including trade in narcotic drugs and substances,” the bench said. “In that process, they use children and exploit them.”

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 13:22 IST