Bengaluru city police’s “Operation Smile” couldn’t be more aptly named.
The massive operation, meant to curb the ever-expanding beggary racket in the city, resulted in the rescue of 237 persons – including 164 children.
According to an Indian Express report, “the joint operation was carried out by policemen, officials from the Women and Child Welfare Department, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), representatives from various NGOs and Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPU).”
P Harishekaran, Additional Commissioner of Police (east division) shed light on the successful operation and what it had entailed. In a statement to IE, he explained:
Operation Smile is one of the crime prevention strategies of city police and it focuses on prevention of juvenile and infants from beggary.
The ACP also went on to give the successful results of Operation Smile, stating that police had rescued 164 children and infants, 65 women and eight men. The operation had spanned traffic signals and roads where beggars are mostly located; it began at 10 am and went on till 4 pm.
“Men Worked at Construction Sites While Women and Children Begged”
The Deccan Herald meanwhile also quoted Harishekaran as saying that it was mostly the women and children who were engaged in beggary.
In many cases, the men would go to work on construction sites while the women and children would be engaged in beggary, as that is considered an easy option to make a fast buck.
– P Harishekaran, Additional Commissioner of Police (east division)
All rescued children would be brought before the CWC for further action, Harishekaran added.
The investigation into the beggary racket will look to see if any of the children had been trafficked and a similar operation will be carried out once in a month in the future too.
– Police to The Indian Express