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‘Moral cop’ Vasant Dhoble retires after 39 years of service in the force

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Vasant Dhoble, after having served in the police force for 39 years, retired on Saturday. He was known as the face of moral policing in Mumbai.

“Feels like I am going to be free today,” said the retired ACP, during his farewell, as reported by the Indian Express.

“Will definitely miss the department (police) since I would have no powers to take action against illegal activities,” he added.

In 2012, when Dhoble was the head of the Social Service Branch of the police, he was in the news for conducting raids at eating outlets, and pubs, reportedly often wielding a hockey stick and citing outdated rules.

The Indian Express reported that between April and June 2012, he raided Amar juice center in Vile Parle West, Cafe Zoe in Lower Parel and restaurant Masala Curry in Andheri West, where he detained 11 women on the suspicion of being involved in sex racket. A fruit vendor in Santacruz East allegedly died of a heart attack in January 2013 while fleeing from Dhoble.

As per the report, before the farewell ceremony began, Dhoble claimed he is relieved that his name has been cleared in the 108 cases registered against him.

“I leave without any blemishes or controversies,” he said, adding that he will always remember November 23, 2014, as that was the day all the cases against him were closed.

Dhoble worked with the Missing Bureau during the last few months of his tenure.

 

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Indian Hospitals are using cameras, tags, lasers to curb Baby trafficking and theft

Indian hospitals are educating their staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide

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Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports
Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports. VOA

Hospitals in India are starting to tag newborns, mothers, and medics as well as installing extra security cameras and educating staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide.

Officials said this was part of a drive starting at government hospitals in southern Tamil Nadu state to ensure nurses, doctors and visitors know of the threat of babies being stolen from maternity wards and babies being sold illegally for adoption that is baby trafficking.

At the Rajaji government hospital in Madurai, the first in Tamil Nadu to introduce the program, laser beams at exit points trigger alarms if untagged adults take babies out in order to curb baby trafficking.

“We just want to prevent the theft of babies,” N.K. Mahalakshmi, the doctor in charge of laser tagging at the hospital, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is not fool proof but a deterrent. … Our hospital staff has also been told to be extra vigilant.”

Traffickers, officials sometimes collude

Campaigners have raised concerns that traffickers are often colluding with officials to steal babies from maternity wards and illegally sell them for adoption which is baby trafficking.

Mumbai police arrested a gang for convincing single mothers to sell their babies last year, while in West Bengal police found newborns being stolen from mothers in medical clinics after staff told them that their babies were stillborn.

Dev Ananth, a child protection officer in Tirunelveli district, said the state government is investigating several cases where hospital staff persuaded mothers to sell their babies for about 10,000 Indian rupees ($156).

Tirunelveli district will put posters up in every hospital, alerting pregnant women, families, and staff to the dangers of baby trafficking in overcrowded corridors.

“Many don’t see it as a trafficking issue,” he said.

“We are going to train hospital staff to identify potential cases, including what to do if a baby is abandoned at birth. At present, the do’s and don’ts are not clear.”

No official data on baby trafficking

There is no official data on the number of babies stolen from hospitals in Tamil Nadu, but almost 180,000 children were born in government facilities in 2016, statistics show.

More than four out of 10 of human trafficking cases in India in 2015 involved children being bought, sold and exploited as modern-day slaves, according to crime figures.

“Public hospitals are vulnerable spaces where there are no effective ways to monitor access to newborn babies,” said Paul Sunder Singh of the children’s charity Karunalaya. (VOA)

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