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Rights panel pulls up police for inaction in missing children cases

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights came down heavily on the Delhi Police for not conducting a thorough investigation into tracing the alarmingly high number of missing children in the city.

The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights came down heavily on the Delhi Police for not conducting a thorough investigation into tracing the alarmingly high number of missing children in the city.

The commission has now asked Police Commissioner Y S Dadwal to provide a detailed report within 15 days about the various inquiries and investigations carried out by the police into the 2,503 cases of missing children reported in the Capital since January 1,2008.

The commission,headed by retired IPS officer Amod K Kanth,also made a special mention of the recent case of six missing children reported from Vishwas Nagar in East Delhi.

Kanth came down heavily on the Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Anand Mohan for suggesting that the children had “eloped”. “Whether the children,all aged under 15,eloped or not is a matter of investigation. How can the DCP say it conclusively? The police have to investigate each case properly before they can arrive at a conclusion,” Kanth said.

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Noting that as per police records,only 363 children were traced among the 2,503 in the past year,Kanth said several voluntary organisations have alleged that these missing children might have been pushed into begging,child labour and other forms of prohibited activities.

Kanth also slammed Commissioner Dadwal’s decision to come up with a new child helpline number,saying such a helpline already exists.

“The government already has a toll-free helpline for children,Childline India Foundation’s helpline (1098),which has a nationwide presence. Why should there be another helpline? This is the only statutory voluntary organisation to take care of children in need of care and protection under Section 32 of the Juvenile Justice Act. The police must co-ordinate with this helpline to track and investigate missing children cases,” Kanth said.

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Komal from the Childline India foundation said,“I am surprised by the fact that the police records say only 363 children were traced from the 2,503 children reported missing. As per our records,we had received 1,719 missing complaints,of which 52.3 per cent were traced. I feel there is an urgent need for the police to update their records. We have 150 organisations in 84 cities. The police can really take our help.”

Komal said for each missing complaint registered with them,a diary entry is made at the local police station. Kanth said the police chief would be given 15 days to come up with a detailed report on the missing children.

“This commission has the powers of a civil court and non-compliance with our orders can result in criminal action,” Kanth said.

First published on: 21-02-2009 at 12:12:06 am
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