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Botched rescue on probe radar

Ranchi, May 8: The state social welfare secretary has hinted at a possible probe into the missing minor case that has left an otherwise smooth rescue mission wanting.

Rajiv Arun Ekka today said he was waiting for a report from the child protection team that went to Bangalore last month and returned to Ranchi yesterday with 13 instead of 14 boys. “I came to know of the incident last evening and have asked for a detailed report. Let us identify the lapses, if any, first. We will initiate action if required,” he said. On when the report was expected, he added it should reach his office in a day or two.

A five-member Jharkhand team, led by Koderma district child protection officer (DCPO) Narendra Singh, went to Bangalore on April 28 after voluntary organisations associated with CRY received news of young boys being kept as bonded labour in a golgappa factory.

On their way back after a successful mission, the team lost a 10-year-old boy from Bokaro who it claimed got off the Hatia-Yeswantpur Express unnoticed on Tuesday afternoon. The 13 other minors — nine from Koderma, three from Giridih and one from Bokaro — were sent to their respective homes from the state capital.

While NGOs accused the state team of ruining their good work, Ranchi child welfare panel chairperson Jahan Ara had yesterday harped on resource crunch. She had even registered her gripe against Ranchi DCPO Sewak Ram (not Ira Kumar as mentioned earlier).

Today, however, Ara did a volte-face. “Ranchi officials co-operated. What I meant to say is that there should have been resource backing from the government for such rescue missions,” she said.