Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today urged the Delhi Police to completely remove child beggars from the streets and rehabilitate them and make the national capital a "mirror" for rest of the country.
At a meeting with four women DCPs of Delhi - Aslam Khan, Meghna Yadav, Monika Bhardwaj and Nupur Prasad - Maneka Gandhi urged them to remove all the children begging on the streets and put them in shelter homes.
"They should be put up for adoption or in shelter homes where proper care can be taken of them," she told reporters.
"Many of the children are drugged with opium and can be found lying on the streets. There is no certainty if the people who are claiming to be the parents of these children are actually their parents," she said.
She urged the Delhi DCPs to make Delhi a "mirror for the rest of the country" by setting an example.
The minister said the DCPs assured he of timely outcome.
"I requested them to initiate action towards making their districts Child-Begging Free. The personnel assured me timely outcome in this regard. Compassion is a critical part of a woman's DNA. I asked them to retain this unique quality while serving in police," Ms Gandhi said.
She also deliberated with them on how the idea of 33 per cent reservation to women in police will positively impact the security framework and make the force more sensitive.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) found over 600 children begging or selling at 36 traffic signals across Delhi. But that is just a sampling with the real number being exponentially higher, said an official.
Many of these children are asked to beg and sell pens, flowers or balloons among other things at traffic signals by their parents while many have been trafficked to Delhi, the official said.
NCPCR member Yashwant Jain said the child rights body has written several times to various officials as well as the chief minister to step up the rehabilitation plans for children at signals, but to no result.
Another issue faced by NCPCR teams is determining the veracity of those claiming to be the children's parents.
"It is very difficult to determine the origin of the child. The child might have been trafficked or stolen from somewhere else and might not know that the people claiming to be his parents are actually his traffickers," another NCPCR official said.
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