Bengaluru: Under Operation Nanhe Farishte, over 2,000 children were rescued in 22 months from various railway stations including Bengaluru on the South Western Railway (SWR) network.

According to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) data, at least 2,223 children, including 174 girls, were rescued since July 2017, The Times of India reported on Wednesday (May 9).

In the SWR limits between January and April this year, 198 children (187 boys and 11 girls) were rescued. These rescued children were then sent to child welfare committee or their parents through various NGOs.

The number of children rescued between July and December 2017 was 609 (539 boys and 70 girls) while 1,416 children (1,323 boys and 93 girls) were rescued in 2018.

Debashmita Chattopadhyay Banerjee, RPF Bengaluru divisional security commissioner, SWR, stated that dedicated child rescue teams have been formed. She said that many traffickers take railway stations as an easy escape route. Most of the children rescued in Bengaluru railway stations are from Bihar and Odisha, while many are also from Nepal. She also mentioned that run away children, orphans, trafficked children and child labourers were also rescued.

RPF Bengaluru has launched Operation Firefly to boost security at railway stations. “RPF is starting a campaign called #OperationFirefly where every citizen will pledge #IWillDoMyBit. Please be our ears and eyes and wherever you see any unauthorised activity in Bengaluru Div Railways..please inform us (sic),” tweeted the official handle of the RPF, Bengaluru division, SWR.

Most children are rescued from Majestic, Yeshwantpur and Cantonment stations in Bengaluru.