CWC Newsletter – Issue 8, September 2015









In this issue:


Release of Interim Report on Operation Smile


A report focusing on the interim fact findings on the Operation Smile, conducted in the city of Bangalore on the 6th of August, 2015

The Concerned for Working Children and People’s Union for Civil Liberties (Bangalore) have released an interim fact finding report on Operation Smile, which was conducted by Bangalore City Police, in association with the Department of Women and Child Development and several NGOs in Bangalore. This operation aimed at rescuing children found begging, missing children, children suffering from drug addiction, and those who are victims of kidnapping. This operation was conducted on a directive issued by the State Home Minister, KJ George, and pursuant to similar operations that have been conducted in other states. It was conducted on August 6, 2015, across all police subdivisions in Bangalore. Around Rupees 5 lakhs was allocated for this project, with the bulk of the resources being directed towards the police department. Rescue teams traversed each police subdivision between 10 am and 4 pm and simply picked up children, without enquiring if they had parents or went to school. Parents were not informed that their children had been picked up, and many parents approached police stations to report their children missing, only to find that they had been picked up in the Operation. Till now, there is no consensus on the number of children picked up, and while newspaper reports from August 7th indicate that around 190 children were ‘rescued’, state authorities are able to account for only 50-60 of them.

The Concerned for Working Children and PUCL have been interacting with the parents of these children, and our report reflects some of our observations. We have noticed that parents underwent harassment to get their children released. Firstly, no due diligence can be observed in the manner in which children were picked up, and it seems that any child who looked poor was arbitrarily bundled into rescue vans. Secondly, parents who approached the Committee were given no clear directions as to the manner in which children could be released. They were forced to make repeated visits to the Committee, and many had to forego substantial income as daily wage labourers. In many cases, they were not even allowed to meet their children. Children have complained of abuse, both physical and psychological, inside the shelter homes. There seems to be no clarity on rehabilitation of these children, apart from insisting on an undertaking from parents stating that they will send their children to school. This operation resulted in immense trauma for parents and children, with absolutely no benefit. The best interests of children have been completely disregarded, and children have merely been subjected to weeks of separation from their families, before being released.

The Concerned for Working Children and PUCL condemn the manner in which this operation was conducted. While begging and kidnapping are serious concerns impacting the lives of children, there must be an informed and consistent manner in which they are dealt with. The socio-economic background of children and their families must be taken into account before they are targeted and humiliated for their poverty. Shelter homes often offer little protection from abuse to children, and conditions in these homes must be improved. Most importantly, children must be given the right to be heard, and the child’s right to not be separated from his parents must be respected. The Concerned for Working Children and PUCL are releasing this interim report in the hope that such misguided ‘rescue’ operations are not conducted again, and that the rights of children are understood through their perspective.


 Go up

Case narratives of Interim Report



My wife and I are daily labourers residing in Arekere. Our 5-year-old son Rahul* lives in Raichur along with my parents and attends an Anganwadi there. He was not keeping well and thus, we brought him to Bangalore to fetch him medical assistance. It had only been a couple of days since he had come to Bangalore. As usual, on the 6th of August, my wife and I left for work. In the afternoon, my daughter-in-law took my son to the nearby Sai Baba Temple where they serve ‘Prasadam’ (free food) once a week. My son was picked up from the temple when he was seen receiving the ‘Prasadam’. My daughter-in-law who was with him was told that Rahul was not her son and thus, was concluded to be a child beggar. She was not informed about where my son was being taken. Not knowing whom to approach, we rushed to the Hulimavu Police Station where we were informed by Geeta madam that my son had been taken to the hostel near the Meenakshi Temple.

We reached the hostel on the evening of the 6th of August. It was here that we were informed about the documents that we had to submit. They told us that we were required to submit ID cards of the parents and a photograph of the child. The authorities also made false promises of releasing my son that very evening. However, he was not released and was shifted to the Child Welfare Committee, Dairy Circle. We reached the Child Welfare Committee with all the required documents on the 7th of August and submitted all of them. The documents were collected and we were told to return on the following Monday (10th August). However, one of the parents whose child had also been taken away got very agitated with the authorities. In an inebriated state, he created a ruckus at the Child Welfare Committee. The authorities, who clearly looked irritated by this behaviour, then told us to return on the 17th of August instead of the 10th.

Nonetheless, my wife and I visited the Child Welfare Committee daily in the fond hope that my son would be released. The tedious procedures and the casual attitude of the authorities certainly annoyed us. However, we were very scared to confront the authorities in this regard as we feared that they would then deliberately delay Rahul’s release. Despite frequently visiting the Child Welfare Committee, I was finding it difficult to secure my son’s release. My son had come to Bangalore for treatment and had fever even when he was captured. We were very worried about his health. Desperate to find a way out, I went to the Hulimavu Police Station and obtained a representation from them requesting for Rahul’s release. Unfortunately, that too had little impact.

On the 13th of August, the Committee concerned with my son’s case convened. I was told to submit another set of the documents that I had already submitted. I got this set ready along with a representation and waited to be heard by the Committee. I repeatedly asked the persons seated outside the Committee room when my son’s case would be heard. But they repeatedly told me that his matter would not come up on that day and also that I must return on the 17th of August. It was only after all of you spoke to the Committee that things began to move. I was determined to take my son home on that day. Therefore, when one of the other parent’s representation in English was rejected and he was asked to have it re-written in Kannada, I decided to take no chances. Though my case had not come up before the Committee yet and though the Committee had not told me anything about the representation, I took your help and got a representation written in Kannada as well. I wanted to furnish all the documents, in a manner that they wanted it in and take my son back. However, I was not needed to submit any of these documents. My son was released on that very day. If they did not need the documents, I don’t understand why they asked me to get a set ready and submit it.

My son did not complain about his stay in the Home. Before releasing him, he was given syrup for his fever and my son told me that the syrup was given to him on another day as well. My son was treated decently well in the Home. As a precautionary measure, I sent my son back to Raichur as soon as possible. I do not want to face this again.



My wife and I are daily labourers residing in Arekere. My two children Preeti* (7) and Anil* (5) live in Raichur along with my parents. As our children live away from us, they miss us and thus, they had come to Bangalore to spend some time with us. On the 6th of August, my wife and I left for work as usual. My children were playing near my home. The Sai Baba Temple near our home offers ‘Prasadam’ (free food) once every week. In the noon, my children went to the temple to receive the ‘Prasadam’ when they were mistaken to be child beggars and taken away. As no family member was present when my children were taken away, we did not even know where they were. There were few other children from the neighborhood who had been seized in this manner and thus, the parents of these children approached the Hulimavu Police Station. We were told by Geeta madam that my children had been taken to a hostel near the Meenakshi Temple.

We reached the hostel that very evening but we did not get an opportunity to see my children. Even when we requested to be allowed to meet them, the authorities curtly asked us how they could be sure that we were indeed the parents of the concerned children. At the hostel, we were also informed about the documents that we had to submit. We were told to furnish parents’ ID proof and our Caste Certificate. The next day, our children were shifted to the Child Welfare Committee, Dairy Circle. We submitted all the required documents at the Child Welfare Committee and hoped that our children would be released. We visited the Child Welfare Committee daily but the process seemed to be taking a long time. I had submitted multiple sets of the same documents during this period. Finally, my son’s matter came up on the 13th of August. I was told to submit a fresh set of documents once again. When I went before the Committee to submit my documents, I was sent back stating that they could not accept a representation written in English. One of the members on the Committee asked me which language I would educate my children in. When I told him that I would send my children to a Kannada school, he said that he would then want a representation written in Kannada. I then submitted a representation in Kannada and my son was released on that day.

My children were not treated well in the home. They were beaten inside and not to allowed to mingle with other children. As our children had been taken away from us, they yearned for us and thus, did not feel like eating or sleeping. When we went to see them at the Home, my children could see us through the window; however, we could not see them. We could hear each other’s voices but the parents could not see the children. This affected our children and they refused to eat and walked around in the night unable to sleep. They were beaten for such behaviour. In fact, my 7-year-old daughter has been branded on her thigh inside the Home. I feared that my children will once again be taken away without a reason if they continue to stay in Bangalore. I have thus, sent both of them back to Raichur.



I am a daily labourer residing in Arekere. My 7-year-old daughter Sneha* was captured on the 6th of August. The Sai Baba Temple near my home offers ‘Prasadam’ (free food) once every week. My daughter had gone to the temple in the noon with my elder sister. Although my elder sister accompanied my daughter, my daughter was mistaken to be a child beggar and taken away. My sister was not told where my daughter was being taken away and no one else seemed to know either. There were other children from the neighbourhood who had been taken away in a similar fashion. I, along with the parents of all the other children, went to the Hulimavu Police Station. We were informed here by Geeta madam that my daughter had been lodged at a hostel near Meenakshi Temple. I went to the hostel where we were given details of the documents that had to be submitted. The next day, my daughter was shifted to the Child Welfare Committee, Dairy Circle. From that day until the day of my daughter’s release, I remember having submitted the same documents at least 4 times. The authorities were extremely rude with us and refused to share any information with us. Despite the fact that our frustration was building up, we were very scared to raise our voices as we feared that they might delay Sneha’s release.

My daughter had fever when she was kept in the Home. I don’t think she was given any medical help. When I went to see her at the Home, she could see me through the window and hear me, whereas I could not get a glimpse of her. Having seen me, she wanted to come home with me but couldn’t. This affected her deeply and she even cried inside the home. She told me that she was occasionally beaten inside the Home. I am just very happy to have her back. I sent her back to Raichur immediately in order to avoid any more incidents of this kind. I have enrolled her in a school there.

*Note: Name of all Individuals have been changed to ensure confidentiality.



Go up

Relevant news



Go up



  • When you look into a child’s eyes you expect to see hope, trust and innocence; but when you see these signs of childhood are replaced by betrayal, hunger, fear & suspicion, we need to take a serious stock of ourselves and the society we have created.

    - Nandana Reddy | CWC

  • Related Posts

    More posts: education