Telangana: In a dramatic operation, the Hyderabad police rescued 88 people, including 75 minors, from Bihar who were reportedly being brought to work as bonded labour, late on Saturday night. The police was acting on a tip-off that a big batch of children was being brought on a train from Visakhapatnam and deployed a huge number of men in civilian clothing. The suspected attackers and the middlemen have been arrested.
"It is a big breakthrough. Usually in rescue operations, only children are recovered. But this time the police has been able to arrest some of those who are a part of the mafia network of trafficking," said Achyuta Rao, member of the State Child Rights Commission.
"There are a large number of children from backward districts of Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, who are giving in to the bonded labour demand in different units, and even form part of organised begging networks," he added.
The group, split into three bogies, had travelled from different districts to Patna and from there to Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, to catch the Janmabhoomi Express that brought them to Hyderabad. The train reached the Secunderabad station after 1 am, nearly six hours late.
Each of the youngsters claimed they were travelling alone, had not been brought to work and there was no one accompanying them. But they had no contact address on them. It was clear that they had been trained to answer, so as to protect those behind the interstate trafficking racket.
One of the boys told NDTV he was coming from Gaya to meet his brother. When asked whether he had his brother's address, he took out a small chit of paper from his pocket which read 'LB Nagar', a locality in Hyderabad. When asked how he was going to find his brother in a huge area without a specific address, there was no answer.
Another boy said he was from Rajgir and was planning to return home after meeting his 'family' in Hyderabad. Where they lived, he had no answer. Among the boys were also some who claimed to be Telugu-speaking 'locals', from the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh.
All the 88 people taken off the train were shifted to Gopalpuram police station. After detailed questioning, the minors are likely to be shifted to government-run rescue home for boys.