Thiruvananthapuram | Taking a serious view of the increase in the number of children missing in the state, the Kerala government has launched a programme to trace, rescue and reunite the little ones with their family. Titled as Operation Valsalya, the state government’s ambitious programme is envisaged to be implemented on the lines of the much acclaimed ‘Operation Smile’ project in Ghaziabad.
According to police statistics, as many as 69 children have been kidnapped or abducted across the state till June this year. While 116 children had been kidnapped in the state in 2014, the number was 136 in 2013 and 147 in 2012, it said. The state Social Justice Department, which initiated the programme on a small scale recently, is planning to execute it with the support of various government departments. Cooperation and support of police, childline volunteers and non-governmental organizations have been sought in this regard.
A top official said the Operation Valsalya is expected to provide relief to parents who live in the painful memories of their missing children. As a pilot project, we have started the programme in a low key in selected places. It will be extended across the state in the coming days after evaluating its success, Social Justice Department special secretary A Shajahan said.
Under the programme, officials, who received expert training in Juvenile Justice Act, Protection of Child Rights Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, would carry out searches in locations like bus stands, railway stations, pilgrim centers and so on. Searches would also be carried out in children homes and orphanages by vigilant squads.
Identity of wandering children and inmates of orphanages would also be recorded. Awareness programmes and poster and sticker campaigns would also be carried out to propagate the cause. The picture and other whereabouts of children, rescued from various parts of the state under the mission, would be uploaded in the website www.trackthemissingchild.nic.in, the official added.
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