They were rescued from Bangalore City, Yeshwantpur, Hubli, Dharwad, Mangalore and Bagalkot. The reunion took place at the closing ceremony of Home Orientation and Removal of Substance Abuse Camp and Children Reunion Ceremony organised by Sathi and Indian Railways at Yeshwantpur Railway Station.
Parents of the remaining four are yet to collect their children. The rescued children were given a month-long counselling where they were made to understand the importance of family, education, health and disadvantages of substance abuse and drugs.
Eight-year-old Chota from Bihar (name changed), one of the rescued boys, said he ran away from home ten days back because he lost his school textbook and was scared that his parents and teachers will shout at him.
He was found at Bangalore City Station eight days back and was counselled. Singh (name changed) a 13 year old boy, had run away from home thrice, simply because he did not like his parents shouting and beating him. Due to earlier runaway instances, he got addicted to drugs. Staying at the railway station, he realised the importance of family, but needed de-addiction counselling.
Every year around 7,000 runaway children reach various railway stations in Karnataka, but unfortunately only 1,000 are saved, counselled and reunited with their parents, Sathi Secretary Pramod Kulkarni said.
This is because of lack of help and coooperation from railway police, railway officials and the State government, he added.
Kulkarni said railway police, railway officials and the State government concentrate only on major stations like Yeshwantpur and City Railway Station, while the rest are ignored. It is important to check all stations as children from other states get down at any station they can.
Eight volunteers of Sathi are located at all stations to receive runaway children and help them.