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While recent reports of children going missing from Delhi may have gotten their share of attention in the national capital,a report compiled by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in February paints an equally dismal picture for the rest of the country as well.
According to the report,the compilation of which was begun by the NCPCR soon after the Nithari scandal broke in 2006,a total of about 13,000 children were reported to be missing from various parts of the country. Madhya Pradesh tops the list with a total of 2625 children,including 1507 girls,going missing,followed by Delhi with 2500 such cases.
The Commission had written to the various states in 2006 for data on missing children but drew a blank in most cases. “Hardly any state had data stating the numbers of missing children,We,henceforth,presume that the numbers provided are after or from 2006,” said a senior NCPCR official.
While the report is based on the number of cases reported in the police station,officials believe this is only the tip of the iceberg since FIRs are not filed in a number of cases. “This we are sure of,as it is so far not mandatory for police stations to lodge First Information Reports (FIRs) regarding missing children,” added the official.
“We have written to the Delhi Police Commissioner regarding this issue and will soon be asking for an explanation from other states as well. As of now there is no accountability,the report is a data base which will help us in further interventions,” said Sandhya Bajaj,member,NCPCR.
Maharashtra,West Bengal,Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh are the other states which have recorded a high number of missing children cases. Considering more children go missing than the numbers provided by the states,the NCPCR is of the view that FIRs should be made compulsory in such cases. “If the child doesn’t turn up in one month’s time,it should be presumed as kidnapping and necessary action taken,” added Bajaj.
The NCPCR is also formulating a set of guidelines to make it mandatory for police stations to lodge FIRs regarding missing children.
LOST AND FOUND
• In 2006,3,649 children went missing in UP. Out of 61 children who were reported missing between April and December 2006,the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development could locate and send back 54 such children. Lucknow District Police found 300 out of 1,047 missing children in 2006.
• After 24 children were reported missing between July 2006 and January 2007 from a tribal area,Chhattisgarh formed a special squad to probe such cases.
• According to the Kolkata Police,15,600 kids went missing from the city between 1996 and 2005.