New Delhi, Sept. 30: Nearly four kids, every day.
That’s the capital’s dubious record of the number of children who have gone missing this year.
If that’s scary, here’s cause for more concern. The number of kids missing in Delhi has risen three-fold since 2006, according to figures available with Delhi police.
In 2006, 303 children disappeared from the capital. Till September 24 this year, as many as 1,010 children were missing, or nearly four every day.
Police records show they haven’t been able to trace any of the 303 kids who disappeared in 2006.
The records say that 330 children disappeared in 2007, 473 in 2008, 535 in 2009, 860 in 2010, and 967 went missing in 2011.
This means over 4,400 kids have been reported missing in Delhi over the past six years.
But hidden in the jumble of data was something even more disturbing.
A report tabled by the home ministry in Parliament this August said that in 2011 alone, 5,111 children have been reported missing in the city — or 14 every day.
The conflicting figures raise serious doubts about not only the authenticity of the data presented but also about the seriousness with which authorities deal with such matters.
“When a child goes missing, just an entry is made in the general diary at the police station instead of registering an FIR. Sometimes, even that is not done. So any record that exists, whether with the police or the government, cannot and do not show credible figures. Primarily, the police department needs to give more importance to cases of missing children and keep track of the parents so that updates can be made,” said Suhana Agarwal, a social worker in a Delhi home.
An activist with a non-government organisation that has been working to eradicate child labour and trafficking said the situation was “graver” than what the figures reflected.
“With rampant mushrooming of placement agencies in metropolitan cities, these figures show a clear connect between the functioning of these agencies and the large number of young children going missing in the city,” said Rakesh Senger of Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
Girls, he added, get kidnapped after being lured with lucrative job offers and then trafficked to other states.
A research on Missing Children of India by the NGO last year said close to one lakh children disappear every year in the country.