Over 4,000 women have been reported missing from Pune district per year in 2017 and 2018, reveals a study done by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) recently. A district-wise analysis of the data shows that Pune district is only second to Mumbai, across India, in terms of numbers of complaints received by police about missing women.
In 2018, as many as 4,149 women were reported missing from Pune district — with Pune City Police recording 2,504 such missing person cases and Pune Rural recording 1,645 cases. The year before that, the cumulative number for the district was 4,135, with Pune City Police receiving 2,576 complaints and Pune Rural Police getting 1,645 complaints. The study, however, does not present any data about whether the women reported missing were later located and reunited with their families, or if any of them returned home on their own.
The NCRB had decided to study the data on missing women and missing children to identify areas that are prone to human trafficking. The move came after a Supreme Court directive to carry out such an exercise to identify areas that need special attention. The study reveals that Maharashtra tops the list of states with the most number of women reported missing in three years, with as many as 28,316 women reported missing in 2016, 29,279 in 2017, and 33,964 in 2018. The state is followed by West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh in this category.
Within the state, the Mumbai Commissionerate recorded the highest number of women reported missing in 2017 and 2018, with 4,718 and 5,201 women reported missing respectively. To deal with the high number of such cases registered in Pune, a special cell was set up in September 2019, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Bachchan Singh, Pune City Police.
“To give special focus on missing people, Pune City Police set up a ‘missing persons’ cell since September 2019, and it works under Social Services Branch of Crime Branch, Pune city. This cell collects information on missing persons from police stations and contacts the relatives of missing persons within three days of registration, as well as conducts parallel investigation in some cases. Till now, 4,044 calls have been made with regard to missing persons, and 1,189 of them have been found. A parallel investigation has been conducted in 390 cases, of which 204 missing persons have been found,” said Singh.
He said most of the cases reported in Pune were “elopements, women leaving their house due to household troubles or students facing exam troubles”. In most of these cases, the women returned home in a short time, he said, adding that cases in which the missing person remained untraced were “rare”.
The data for the study has been taken from Crime in India (CII), an annual publication of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Crime in India contains data on police recorded crime during the year. While recording missing persons in the system, it is too early to ascertain the motive, which only becomes clear later during the investigation stage.
Motive is, therefore, not factored in the present analysis. The dataset of missing women and children for three consecutive years — 2016, 2017 and 2018 — was used for the study.
Police officials say that while investigating ‘missing persons’ complaints, a variety of reasons behind he disappearance emerge. Some of them may have left their homes in order to avoid abuse or violence, while others may be missing due to an accident. A percentage of the total number of people who go missing become victims of serious crime – especially when the missing person is a woman or a child — such as forced labour and sexual exploitation.
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