This Independence Day, the Mumbai police will launch a month-long drive to trace all missing minors in their jurisdiction, aiming to reunite them with their parents. The campaign, named Operation Reunite, will be conducted in collaboration with several non-government Organisations (NGOs) and the police have released a set of detailed guidelines for citizens to follow if they see minors who are unaccompanied or seen in suspicious situations.
According to the police, the drive aims to find all those aged under 18, who have gone missing under any circumstances, so far. As per current rules, the police are required to immediately register an FIR of kidnapping in cases of missing minors, so that the case is treated with utmost seriousness. This includes minors who are lost, runaways and teenagers who have eloped with their romantic partners, apart from actual cases of abduction.
Police officials said that a large number of these cases remain unsolved every year. Hence, orders have been issued to conduct a citywide campaign at police station level. All police stations have hence been instructed to pull up all such unsolved cases registered with them and pay special focus on these cases from August 15 to September 15.
“We will be working alongside NGOs that work in the field of child welfare and the assistance from citizens will be invaluable in this campaign. Hence, we appeal to everyone to inform us immediately whenever they see any minors in suspicious situations,” said deputy commissioner of police (Preventive) Balsing Rajput.
Citizens are requested to make inquiries with any unaccompanied minors that they see and, if the need is felt, immediately inform the police control room at 100 or the child helpline at 1098. Additionally, this can also be reported to the nearest police station. This can be anywhere from the streets to crowded places of railway stations and bus depots, where the chances of children being separated from their parents or guardians are high.
The police have also advised citizens to inform the control room about any minor boys or girls seen engaged in work like begging or scavenging, as well as employed in commercial establishments or in households, so that the police can take appropriate action.
“Information about this, along with pictures wherever possible, can also be shared on www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in,” said Rajput.