Patna, March 9: The bane of the bicycle gift continues to strike the state’s girls.
In the past six months, seven girls in Samastipur’s Rosera town have gone missing on way to school or home on bicycles provided under the chief minister’s scheme. All seven are yet to be recovered.
On the morning of March 5, progressive farmer Sudhanshu Kumar Singh’s 15-year-old daughter went missing on her way home to Pawra village, around 114km northeast of Patna, with the admit card for her Class X examinations beginning Tuesday.
With the teen yet to be recovered, Singh today visited Rosera sub-divisional police officer Mithilesh Kumar and sought his intervention.
Kumar promised of recovering the girl soon. “Please, have patience. We are on the job,” Singh quoted the officer as saying.
Singh had looked for his daughter, a student of Balika Uchcha Vidyalaya, for two days before reporting the matter to Rosera police station last Thursday. He told the police his daughter was kidnapped by a group of youths when she was on her way home around 10.30am. While the teen had gone to school with her friends, she was returning alone. He also named suspects but alleged that the investigating officer of the case, Binod Ram, has failed to take action.
He said: “I never thought they would dare to abduct a girl in the daylight. I am repenting my decision to allow her to go to school with her friends.”
Rosera station house officer Sudhir Kumar Chaturvedi said one of the suspects named by Singh — Ram Babu Mahto — has been arrested and forwarded to jail in connection with the kidnapping. He said the investigating officer has also been issued directions to find the girl at the earliest. He, however, cited guidelines from the top to proceed in the case. “I am waiting for my senior’s guidelines. In such cases, supervision of senior officers is a must,” Chaturvedi said over phone from Rosera.
On an average, 15 cases of kidnapping and missing girls are reported from the state every day. The police claim that more than 90 per cent of the cases are related to elopement and kidnapping for marriage. “The criminal investigation department has been assigned the responsibility to look into such cases,” a senior police officer said.
Chaturvedi agreed that schoolgirls were increasingly becoming soft targets for criminals. Last year, The Telegraph had reported how a meritorious student of a Bikramganj school in Rohtas and a few others had to stop going to school. Criminals used to harass the girls on separate occasions while they were on way to their schools on bicycles provided by the government.
Singh, worried about his missing daughter, also plans to meet Samastipur superintendent of police (SP) Varun Kumar Sinha on Monday. Efforts to contact Sinha on his mobile phone for an appointment have proved futile, though, for the farmer.
Apart from Singh’s daughter, six schoolgirls from Mehraul, Bhirha and Pawra villages have gone missing in the past six months. The affected families have stopped enquiring from the police because of the force’s inability to find clues in the cases. Singh’s namesake, Sudhanshu Kumar, another progressive farmer in the district, said: “Cases of kidnapping are lodged because the victims are minors but the police take little interest in the cases. They wait for the relatives to collect information about the whereabouts of the girls and the suspects and inform them (police).”