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Slow probe in missing cases

Eyes of Anirudha Choudhary moistens whenever he recounts the tale of his four-year-old daughter, who went missing more than a year ago from his home near Munnachak.

Choudhary’s daughter Sapna went missing while playing in a playground near his residence on January 9, 2013. He reported the matter to Patrakarnagar police station and a search was launched but turned futile. Till date Sapna has not returned home. The family has slipped into severe depression. Apparently shocked over police’s indifferent attitude, Choudhary said: “I have stopped visiting the police station to inquire about the case. It’s of no use.”

The family, which originally hails from Nalanda, had settled in Patna a few months before the incident occurred.

Similar is the case with Manoj Kumar Poddar, a resident of Chowk in Patna City. His minor son Kunal Kumar went missing on August 20, 2012. “My son left home on his bicycle saying he would return soon after meeting his friend. But didn’t come back, leaving us shattered,” said Poddar, a small-time trader.

He also announced to reward Rs 50,000 to the person on giving information about his missing son. “But that too didn’t help us to trace him. Even his bicycle has not been recovered. The file related to the missing incident of my son seems to have been closed. Nobody now talks about the case at the Chowk police station, which registered the missing case on January 22, 2012,” he said.

Statistics collected from 14 districts of the state revealed that 487 children went missing from the districts in 2013 against 500 such cases reported in 2012. Of them, 173 victims were recovered in 2013 and 386 in 2012, respectively. The remaining kids are traceless.

The figures compiled on the directive of the police headquarters from the districts considered to be vulnerable revealed that Katihar tops the list with 35 children remaining traceless in 2013 and 40 in 2012 respectively. Munger and Muzaffarpur stood second with recording missing of 30 children each.

Patna recorded 98 missing cases each in 2013 and 2012 respectively. However, 23 of them were safely recovered in 2013 and 22 in 2012. The statistics also revealed that the number of missing children has shot up in some districts close to India-Nepal border such as Kishanganj, East Champaran and West Champaran.

The 14 districts where the anti-human trafficking police stations were to be set up are — Katihar, Purnea, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, East Champaran, West Champaran, Saharsa, Araria, Kishanganj, Begusarai, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Munger and Patna.