Updated: October 30, 2014 8:48:57 pm
Taking a strict note of the indifferent approach of Chhattisgarh government towards its missing children, the Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up its top officials for submitting a wrong affidavit in the matter. Talking tough, the Chief Justice HL Dattu told the officials that they must think about “the mothers whose children have gone missing”.
While the Central government had told the parliament in August that the number of untraced children from 2011-2013 in Chhattisgarh was 3129, the state on Thursday informed the apex court that the number stood nearly three times lesser at 1204.
Following a petition by Bachpan Bachao Andolan that child trafficking is rampant in Chhattisgarh, the Supreme Court had asked the state government to file a status report in this regard.
Chhattisgarh’s DGP AN Upadhyaya and Acting Chief Secretary DS Misra on Thursday submitted the affidavit only to be strongly rebuked by the court.
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The court gave them time till November 13 to file an additional affidavit and told them that it would not be appropriate if they submit such affidavit again. “What if the children of officials go missing,” the court said.
“The Central government has already told the parliament in August this year that the number of missing children in Chhattisgarh is 3129. There is a huge discrepancy between that figure and the data submitted by the government today. It cannot be the case that they recovered all these children in two months. If that had been the situation, they must have informed the court,” Bachpan Bachao Andolan’s Bhuvan Ribhu told The Indian Express.
“We are not talking about numbers but human lives. Each child is important and his missing must be accounted for,” he said, adding that according to the NCRB figures, 436 children have gone missing in Chhattisgarh up to May this year only.
“The petitioner has alleged some discrepancy between our data and the figures presented in the Rajya Sabha. The court has given us time to reconcile to the figure. We will submit a fresh affidavit,” said a senior official of the Chhattisgarh government.
The tribal areas of North Chhattisgarh comprising Surguja, Balrampur and Jashpur report high incidences of missing children. They are trafficked to metro cities where they are subjected to various forms of exploitation.
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