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West Bengal police launch mobile app for missing persons’ kin

The application will not have any data on unclaimed bodies in morgues in the Kolkata police area

Monalisa Chaudhuri | Published 08.02.23, 09:27 AM
Representational file image

Representational file image

West Bengal police on Tuesday launched a mobile phone application through which family members and friends of people who are missing can search for them from a database of unidentified bodies lying in morgues across the state.

The app will not have any data on unclaimed bodies in morgues in the Kolkata police area. 


People who wish to carry out this search will have to upload a photograph of the missing person on the app. The West Bengal Khoya Paya App, which is equipped with face-recognition software, will help the user get the closest match with the photograph, said an officer of the Bengal police.

“General public will be able to use this app. We have seen several times that there are problems in matching the identity of missing persons with that of bodies in the morgues. This app will help in reducing this gap,” the director general of police, Manoj Malaviya, said during the launch of the app at the police directorate in Bhabani Bhavan.

It could be traumatic for the families but such a system was essential to bridge the information gap, said another police officer.

Last year, the bodies of two teenage boys who were reported missing from their Baguiati home were found lying unclaimed in a morgue for almost two weeks.

The boys were kidnapped and murdered before their bodies were dumped. Till the bodies were found in the morgue, the kidnapper had been in touch with the family demanding ransom, giving the impression that the boys were still alive.

An officer attached to the project said the families of missing persons spend their days and nights in extreme agony till they get news of their loved ones. “This app will help them,” the officer said.

He said data related to unidentified bodies in morgues from 41 police districts, except the Kolkata police commissionerate, would be constantly collated and updated on the app, which can be assessed by people across the globe.

The app at present can be downloaded from the Playstore on android phones. “It is likely to be available in Appstore (for iPhones) and Windows soon,” an officer said.

The additional director-general of police, western zone, Sanjay Singh, who played a pivotal role in developing the app, said “legacy data” (old data of unidentified bodies lying in morgues) was being transferred to the app. All police districts, he said, have been asked to update new cases on a real-time basis.

“Over 4,000 cases from legacy data have been uploaded. The rest will be updated shortly. Starting today, all police districts will have to update their daily data on the app for real-time updates on unidentified bodies found across the state,” Singh told The Telegraph.

According to records, 1.22 lakh people have been reported missing across West Bengal (excluding the Kolkata police jurisdiction) in the last three years, out of whom 1.01 lakh have been traced till now.

Last updated on 08.02.23, 09:27 AM

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