Reaching out to Delhi's 'nameless' children with cameras in hand

new delhi: More than 1,200 impoverished children have been identified across 15 districts of Delhi, who did not have any form of identification for themselves whatsoever — not even a photograph. "There are families who can't afford photographs of their kids and if these children went missing then it becomes a tough task to trace them," one police official said.

According to data accessed by Millennium Post (till June 25), in North district, as many as 396 such children were identified whereas in Central Delhi, 24 were identified. In North West- 49 children, South West-35, Outer North-115, Rohini-26, New Delhi-6 children, East district-37, 46 in Shahdara, 138 in North East district, 53 in South district, 98 in South East, 37 in Dwarka, 187 in Outer district and 38 in West district.

The Delhi Police said they were identified and under Operation Pehchan. They added that their photographs were taken and were issued temporary identity cards. According to Delhi Police, the security of their children is one of the key concerns of working parents. "While educated parents try to have a support mechanism in their absence, children of workers from the underprivileged sections are the most vulnerable," police said. DCPCR chairperson Anurag Kundu said that getting the first identification document is quite cumbersome and requires much running around. He added that the DCPCR has helped thousands of children get Aadhaar cards.

In many cases, children tend to lose their way or fall prey to organised gangs of criminals or kidnappers. "Their families, out of ignorance and due to poverty, do not keep even the basic record such as photographs which would help the police identify, trace and rescue them if needed," police said. "As many as 191 different areas, mostly slums, clusters, were covered by police officials. Last year more than 3,500 children were identified and 284 areas were covered," data shows.

Police said that under Pehchan, officials visit slums and take family photographs of children at risk. Name and other details are printed in the children's photographs and this database serves as a key resource for tracking and rescuing missing children. According to recent data, more than 1,500 children went missing in the current year, of which 800 are yet to be traced.

Roop Sudesh Vimal, member of DCPCR said that many from this section of the society are often unaware of procedures to get basic documentation like Aadhaar cards. Yashwant Jain, a member from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said, "Two things are very important — one parents' awareness and second government reach."

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