PATNA: Kajal Kumari* was thrashed by her elder brother and the 14-year-old was forced to flee from her home in Sasaram to reach Patna. Another Nepal native Phulo Kumari, fed up with her family, reached Darbhanga in Bihar by train.
Rumi Kumari and her classmate Vina eloped with their school seniors from their village in Bhagalpur and boarded a Surat-bound train.
These are just a few names from scores of children who were rescued by the Rail Protection Force (RPF) of East Central Railway (ECR).
In Bihar, the list of rescued children who run away from their homes, schools or go astray is getting longer by the day.
"We are also amazed as to how these minors resort to fleeing from their homes or schools over petty issues. They run away after their parents scold them for poor performance in exams, for instance. The RPF cops rescue such children almost every day from all over the zone," principal chief security commissioner of RPF at the zonal headquarters of ECR in Hajipur, Ravindra Verma said.
Eight children, all aged between 2 and 13 years, were rescued at Patna junction by the RPF on October 2, he added.
"Three of them were handed over to their parents after counselling while the rest five were handed over to Childline for further legal actions. One of the minor girls, who had run away from her home over a petty family issue, was rescued at Gaya on September 19."
On September 17, two minor boys and one minor girl were rescued at Patna junction besides a Nepali woman was rescued from Darbhanga railway station in recent times.
"On September 9, the RPF cops rescued four minor girls and boys of Bhagalpur when they were eloping to Surat by a train to escape from their families," he said, adding that children of tender age require proper counselling from school and families.
On September 9, a boy was rescued at Patna Rajendranagar railway station when he ran away from his school hostel in Patna after he got upset over being reprimanded.
Quoting official figures of the last seven years, Verma said that more than 3000 children were rescued by RPF when they ran away or went eloping with their friends or went astray due to various reasons.
"The number of run-aways or astray children being rescued by rail police started growing from 2015-16 with the rescue of a total of 156 children. The figure rose to 401 in 2016-17, 1294 in 2017-18," he said.
The figures declined in 2018-19 to 612. In 2019-20, around 350 children have been so far rescued between January and August from all over the zone by RPF cops.