The Government of India has requested the States/UTs to start “Operation Smile-II” from 1st January, 2016 to 31st January, 2016 to be rolled out throughout the country as a follow up of the earlier campaign to rescue/rehabilitate the missing children. In this regard, the Union Home Secretary, Shri Rajiv Mehrishi has written a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories for whole hearted participation in ‘Operation Smile-II’ in their respective State/UT.
Earlier all States/UTs were advised to take up a one month campaign titled ‘Operation Smile’ in the month of January, 2015 to rescue/rehabilitate the missing children. Similarly, another dedicated campaign titled ‘Operation Muskaan’ was launched in the month of July, 2015 throughout the country.
The States have so far reported that 9146 children under Operation ‘Smile’ and 19742 children under Operation “Muskaan” were rescued/rehabilitated. A large number of missing children have been reunited with their families which is a remarkable achievement made by the field offices. In order to motivate the policemen to take up such causes with sincerity and empathy, 44 Police Officers from different States/UTs who had played a commendable role during Operation “Smile” in January 2015 were recognized and rewarded by the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh during the National Conference on Anti Human Trafficking held in New Delhi on 7th October, 2015.
Various activities are being undertaken with respect to the rolling out of “Operation Smile-II”. During this operation, all children residing in shelter homes, platforms, bus stands, roads, religious places, etc. are to be screened by trained police personnel. Before 1st January, 2016, the Police Personnel from each state are to be properly trained in methodology to extract information from such children tactfully without their getting intimidated, as well as in various provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) JJ Act, Protection of Child Right Act, relevant sections of Cr.PC & IPC and Advisories issued by MHA etc. To know the magnitude of the problem, data with full details of number of cases of missing children will be maintained and shared at intra-State and Inter-state level. Information about Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) would be prepared and shared among all rescue teams and stakeholders.
During the operation, the particulars of such identified children will be uploaded on the ‘Missing child’ portal of the Ministry of Women and Child Development by the respective State Police. Rehabilitation measures whenever needed are to be taken up in coordination with the other line Departments like Department of Women & Child Development, Police, Labour, etc so that scope of re-victimization is eliminated. It has also been emphasized that public awareness should be increased by way of national campaign, advertisement on national media, etc.
The States/UTs have been advised to extend all possible cooperation during inter-state rescue operations, to ensure proper provision of availability of food, clothes, medical-aid, professional translators, psychiatrists and shelter homes for rehabilitation/reintegration well before the rescue operation and to ensure that such operations are conducted in strict compliance of the existing legal provisions.
Mr Ravi Kant, President , Shakti Vahini welcomed the Ministry of Home Affairs Initiative and said that such campaigns are necessary for increased prioritisation of search of Missing Children and Trafficked Victims.