The CID has floated a seven-day helpline to track missing children, a serious malaise in Jharkhand
The dial 9471300008 desk — launched at the crime investigation department’s headquarters in Doranda, Ranchi, on Tuesday — is currently being manned by two young women, one of them a victim of trafficking, from 9am to 6pm. The plan is to make the helpline available round the clock soon.
Every year, some 300 underprivileged children — majority of them girls in their early teens — go missing from Jharkhand (see chart), which unfortunately lacks a sound mechanism to bring them back. In fact, within a day of launch, 10 missing cases were registered at this special CID number from Murhu block in Ranchi, besides Koderma, Khunti and Gumla.
Sources in the police department said Unicef and Diya Seva Sansthan, a voluntary organisation that fights child trafficking, would offer logistics support to CID in cracking the cases without delay.
IG (organised crime) Anurag Gupta said data compiled through complaints, which can be filed by parents, neighbours or anybody for that matter, would be forwarded to police chiefs of respective districts. For starters, this will cure the probe handicap in the absence of correct information. Also, these telephonic complaints will facilitate lodging of FIRs, which is often not the case in the rural hinterland.
To make the hunt for missing children a sustained effort, the CID further plans to rope in village heads.
“We will send text messages in bulk to all mukhiyas, making them aware of the helpline. Currently, we are in the process of compiling their mobile phone numbers. This entire exercise of keeping village heads in the loop will make our task of tracking missing children easier and faster,” Gupta explained.
The IG maintained that the helpline would also help them form a database of missing children, complete with their personal details like parents’ names, address, et al. “The Unicef and Diya Seva Sansthan will help us trace and reunite missing children with their families,” he said.
State chief of Unicef Job Zachariah agreed and said that they were in touch with panchayat representatives. “We will co-ordinate with the government, police, law enforcement agencies, NGOs and rural leaders to bring these children safely home,” he added.
Jharkhand has already uploaded details of 100 missing children on its portal www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in that was developed by the National Informatics Centre earlier this year. “The helpline number will be an added advantage,” Gupta summed up.