Good samaritan reunites lost child with parents


GURGAON: Five-year-old Suhani lost her way on Thursday morning, while trying to follow her mother to a nearby hospital. Although she was just a few kilometres away from her Mullahera village residence, Suhani did not know what to do and started crying.

It was then that a good samaritan, Avneet Singh Khurana, noticed her and took her in his custody before handing her over to police. Luckily for Suhani, her story had a happy ending as the child was reunited with her parents late in the evening.

Suhani’s mother Babita had landed in Gurgaon from Muzaffarpur, her native town in Bihar, only a month ago. While she had always feared losing her daughter in a “big city” like Gurgaon, she did not know that her greatest nightmare would come true so soon.

Suhani was alone at home when Babita went out to visit the hospital. Her father, Rajesh, a vegetable vendor, had gone to the market early in the morning. When Babita returned to her one-room house on Thursday, she panicked on finding her daughter missing. Along with Rajesh, she went looking in every house in the neighbourhood, but they found no trace of Suhani.

Babita said, “I had recently heard that the body of a young child, whose kidney had been removed, was found in a nallah. So I thought I had lost her forever. I could not hold back my tears and called up all my relatives in Bihar. My husband was furious at me for being so careless. Those seven hours that we spent trying to find our only child seemed endless.”

Avneet, who works as software engineer at United Health Group, was passing through Atul Kataria Chowk at around 12 noon, when he spotted the frightened-looking girl, who was crying bitterly. He offered her food and called up the PCR. Subsequently, cops from the Sector 18 police station took Suhani in their custody. Avneet also informed CHILDLINE. Avneet told TOI, “I understood at once that she was lost. I was shocked to see that no passers by had cared to take notice of her crying. I have a daughter of her age and could imagine the pain her parents must have been going through.”`

Suhani’s parents, unable to locate her anywhere, later went to police station in the evening where they were informed that their daughter was safe with CHILDLINE  Avneet, meanwhile, was keeping a tab on the developments. On Friday, Avneet met Suhani once again and gifted her a few boxes of sweets and chocolates.

Minor girl rescued from bus stand


A 15-year-old girl was rescued on Friday by activists of an NGO from the Gurgaon bus stand. The girl claimed that she was physically abused by some men in uniforms in the train while she was on her way to Delhi with a woman named Sita, a native of Kolkata, who had lured her into coming to Delhi.  Neha (name changed), a native of Damding Tea estate, Siliguri, West Bengal, was rescued by Childline, an NGO’s Gurgaon team. Neha said that she had left her home three days ago with Sita and had reached Delhi on Friday morning. In her gullibility, when Sita asked her to bring some money, Neha had taken R25,000 from her home.

On the train to Delhi, Neha was apparently given some drinks and tablets and she fell unconscious. It was when she was not in her senses that she was physically abused. “From Delhi, we came to Gurgaon, where Sita left me alone,” Neha said. Rishi Kant, an activist of Shakti Vahini NGO, said: “Sita is a regular at Damding Tea estate. She lured Neha and brought her to Gurgaon. At the bus stand, she took all of Neha’s money and abandoned her. A police official saw Neha roaming around and called Childline.”

Sita is missing. Neha has been sent for a medical examination. The police are investigating the matter and have filed a case under the Juvenile act and sections 366, 363 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Gurgaon announces Rs 20,000 compensation for rescued child worker


The Gurgaon district administration has decided to provide a compensation of Rs 20,000 to an eight-year-old boy who was rescued in January after being subjected to torture by his employees. The boy, Anil, was rescued by Shakti Vahini, an organisation working for human rights, which claimed the boy worked at the Gurgaon house as bonded labour and was subjected to continuous physical and mental torture.

The district administration said it would take a final decision on Monday. Deputy Commissioner P C Meena told Newsline, “We have decided to provide monetary compensation of Rs 20,000 to the child. I have passed the order, and the amount will be recovered from his employers.”

Shakti Vahini officials, however, maintained that the administration needs to issue a release certificate under the Bonded Labour Act. Incidentally, the release certificate entitles victims to a rehabilitation package amounting to Rs 20,000. “The provision of a compensation amount of Rs 20,000 is there if it is proved that the child was kept as a bonded labourer,” said Rishi, a Shakti Vahini member.

The child, who was rescued with help from DLF Phase-I police, had scars all over his body and a fresh wound on his face. During counselling, he said he underwent continuous physical and mental torture and was forced to do all household work every day. He also said that he was not given proper food and enough warm clothes.

Anil was produced before the Child Welfare Committee, Gurgaon, after a medical examination, and custody was handed over to his mother. The case is being monitored by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. An FIR has been lodged.

Rescued in Delhi two years ago, girl trafficked back to Gurgaon


Working as help for three months, teenager fled on Saturday; rescued, sent to juvenile home

The Gurgaon administration on Monday sent a 14-year-old girl, who was rescued by Childline on Saturday night, to a juvenile home here.

Childline officials claimed the authorities had not adopted the correct procedure to send the girl to the juvenile home. “There should have been a bench of five magistrates and four members who should have heard the case. The case was, however, heard only by the district child welfare officer,” said officials of Childline.

Childline officials said the girl, a resident of Alipurduar in West Bengal, had been rescued earlier from Lajpat Nagar in Delhi in 2009. The girl’s parents had reportedly left her three-four years ago, following which she was taken in by her uncle. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) had, however, sent her to CWC in Ranchi for rehabilitation. Later, she was sent back to West Bengal to be reunited with her family.

But she was sold again, allegedly by her own uncle in connivance with another person, and was brought to Gurgaon. During counselling, the girl said she was enrolled with a placement agency in the city, along with 15-20 other girls from West Bengal and Jharkhand. She said they were harassed regularly and not given enough food, officials said. Around three months ago, she was hired as a domestic help at a house in Sector 18, Gurgaon. Unhappy with the work, she fled on Saturday.

A rickshaw-puller had found her wandering in the vicinity of Sukhrali Market and contacted Childline. The child helpline also questioned the rules followed by the district administration and police. “There should have been an update of the FIR, and a case should also have been registered under the Juvenile Justice Act, which was not done,” the official added.

Since the girl was ill-treated at work, action should have been initiated against her employers, officials said. The authorities should have also demanded a proper investigation report from authorities in Alipurduar from where she was sold, officials added.

The district authorities, however, maintained that there was a provision that even one member of a CWC can hear a case and take a decision. “If any one member is present, the case can be handled by him,” Sajjan Singh, District Child Welfare Officer told Newsline.

Since the girl has not been able to tell the authorities exactly where in Gurgaon she was employed as a domestic help, further action against her employees could not be taken. “The FIR can be updated and the Juvenile Justice Act invoked only when more information is available, which we will try to gather from the girl,” said Singh.

Girl trafficked twice over, rescued again


A 14-year-old girl was rescued from the city where she was working as a domestic help after being trafficked from West Bengal. She was earlier sent to a juvenile centre after being rescued from Delhi, police said on Sunday. Deepti (name changed) was rescued from Sector 17 near Sukrali market on Saturday when she made a call to an NGO, which saved her from Delhi in 2009, the police said, adding that a case has been registered.

Deepti was sent to Ranchi two years back and later sent to a juvenile centre in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, from where she was shifted to her native village near Naxal Badi, said Sanjay Mishra, an activist of the Action Against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children in India (ATSEC).

“She made a call from the auto rickshaw driver’s mobile. She remembered our number when she was in Ranchi juvenile centre. I immediately informed the Shakti Vahini group in Gurgaon and they saved her,” Mishra said adding that the girl has suffered because of poor functioning of the Child welfare Committee of Delhi, Ranchi, and West Bengal.

“Deepti revealed that she was lured on the pretext of job by one Sonu from West Bengal. He brought the girl to Delhi and kept her in a placement agency. According to the girl there were 40 more girls were in the placement agency. Sonu and some another people in the placement agency used to torture the girls”, said Rishi Kant, an activist of Shakti Vahini.

During counselling the girl said that she used to live with her uncle and aunt after being abandoned by her parents three years ago.

In 2009, she was rescued from Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar area and was sent to Jharkahnd instead of her home town. From there she was again brought to Gurgaon via Delhi, Rishi Kant said, adding that she has been working as domestic help in a house at Sector 18, Gurgaon for the past two months.

The police said she was normal and has been temporarily shifted to the Childline centre.

14-year-old domestic help rescued from city


GURGAON: In yet another case of child trafficking, a 14-year-old-girl, a native of West Bengal, was rescued on Saturday night at 10 pm from IFFCO Chowk, near Sukrali market. According to her rescuer, Childline, the girl had wandered off from a home in Sector 18 where she worked as a domestic help. She has been working there for the past three months and she left her employers house as she was not happy there. When she was crying and loitering around the IFFCO Chowkarea, a rickshaw puller got suspicious.

On enquiry, he found the contact number of a protection home in Ranchi. Subsequently, the child was rescued by Childline.Investigations revealed that the same girl was rescued from Delhi two years back and was sent to Jharkhand Protection Home on the direction of Child Welfare Committee, Lajpat Nagar, said a Childline official.

Later, the minor girl who is an orphan, went to stay with her uncle and aunt in Alipur Dwar in West Bengal, near the Indo-Bangladesh border, the official added. Lakshmi (name changed) was taken to the Sector 18 police station where an FIR was registered under Sections 363 (kidnapping) and 366 (kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc) of Indian Penal Code. The child was sent for the medical examination wherein her health condition was stated to be normal.

Lakshmi will be produced before Gurgaon Child welfare Committee on Monday before any other action is taken in in the matter. Rishi Kant, spokesperson of NGO Shakti Vahini which runs Childline in Gurgaon, said, During counselling it was revealed that one Sonu from West Bengal lured Lakshmi to come to Delhi on the pretext of a lucrative job offer. According to Lakshmi, there were 15-20 more girls along with her and all of them were given to a placement agency. Sonu and another person used to torture and harass the girls who were not even provided with proper food.

All the girls there are either from West Bengal or Jharkhand, added Kant. Kant said that Lakshmi has been provided with temporary shelter at the Childline centre. She will be provided shelter as per the direction of the committee. The role of her uncle and aunt is also under the scanner.

Gurgaon cop suspended for torturing 13-yr-old boy


GURGAON: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has acted swiftly in the case related to torture of a 13-year-old boy in custody at Sector-5 police station. The commission on Tuesday recorded the statement of DCP (west) Maheshwar Dayal, who appeared for the second hearing in the case.

Meanwhile, sources told TOI that head constable Jitender Kumar, the investigating officer in this case, has been suspended. Along with him, a constable who also tortured the child has been sent back to Indian Reserve Battalion, the parent body from where he was deputed to the Gurgaon police. Sources close to the developments said that the NCPCR members took serious note of complaints that the victims parents were being forced to take back the case. They also informed the DCP about their displeasure during the hearing on Tuesday.

The jury members stated that they were informed by reliable sources that the parents of the child were being intimidated by some police officers, including the investigating officer in the case. The jury members asked the DCP to ensure that no police officers from his jurisdiction were involved, directly or indirectly, in intimidating or threatening the victim or his family.

A letter to this effect was also written to the DCP and copies were sent to the chief secretary and the state police headquarter among others, the source said. The commission has also told Gurgaon police that it is their duty to ensure the safety and security of the child as well as his family members. When asked, a jury member told TOI that one more hearing will be held in the case and then fresh directives would be issued to the state government regarding the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act. SC lawyer Ravi Kant, who is also associated with Childline in Gurgaon, said the state has a very poor record as far as child rights are concerned.