Hyderabad, Feb 2 (PTI) More than 2,000 missing and destitute children have been rescued during the fifth phase of “Operation Muskan” (Smile) across Telangana in the last one month by police and others in which technology was extensively used, police said.

A total of 2,119 children, including 466 minor girls, have been rescued and 1,303 of them, reported missing over a period of time, reunited with their families, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Swati Lakra said in a release Friday.

The remaining 816 children had been admitted to rescue homes, she said.

Several children were rescued from public places such as railway stations and bus stands while many others were found forced into bonded labour and begging, police said.

Besides, missing children lodged in childcare homes were identified during the operation and reunited with their parents.

As many as 58cases had been registered for various crimesagainst children, the release said.

Officials from the police, women and child welfare department, district child protection unit and various non-governmental organisations (NGOs) were involved in the operation.

The unique feature of the “Operation Smile V” has been extensive use of technology by the rescue teams in the form of facial recognition software on “TS Cop”, a comprehensive mobile app.

The app facilitated easy access to critical information anytime and anywhere by police personnel through their smartphones and tablets, especially while on-field, Lakra said.

According to police, more than 22,000 children had been rescued in the four phases of Operation Smile since 2015.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.