Misery of missing children

Himanshu Shekhar

Children are considered to be the future of the nation but our system doesn’t appear to be sensitive about them. That’s the reason why the number of missing children in our country is going up. However, policymakers love to claim that they will do the needful to check this problem. Minors are not secure even in the national capital but despite this Delhi police seems to be reluctant in curbing this. Numbers are telling the entire story. The story about the willingness of the government and the police. However, Delhi police claims that after the High Court maintained that the disappearance of  “children below 16 years of age should be taken seriously” they have doubled their efforts in this regard.

According to a news report, a five-year-old boy, Sujal, went missing from Ambedkar Nagar in South-East Delhi on August 28. On the same day, a three-year-old boy, Lovjeet, went missing from Vijay Vihar area of Outer Delhi. Just four days before Sujal and Lovajeet went missing, a 12-year-old girl, Pooja, went missing too from Jahangirpuri on August 24. On August 23, three-year-old Tanisha went missing from Dabri. It’s really shameful but true.These children are not alone but a number of minors are disappearing on a regular basis in national capital.

In August, as many as 204 children went missing in Delhi and the nearby states alone. It makes the average to almost eight disappearances every day. According to police, till August 29, the year’s count of missing children touched 1,764. This figure also includes missing children reports from nearby states — such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab and Uttarakhand — which are members of ZIPNET (Zonal Integrated Police Network) along with the Delhi police. In 2009, as many as 5,857 children went missing from Delhi and keeping the numbers of 2010 in mind, the situation does not seem much better this year too.

There are some contradictions in the missing children numbers given by different government agencies. According to National Human Rights Commission, on an average around 45,000 children are disappearing from different parts of the country every year. The number given by NHRC is close to the numbers of UNICEF. According to UNICEF, 44,476 children go missing every year in India. But, at the same time National Crime Bureau shows a quite different picture. According to its estimate, only 4,500 children are disappearing annually from different part of our country. On the other hand, some NGOs are putting this number over one lacs.

The disappearance of children is not new but the worry is that our system is appearing insensitive over this serious issue. Not a single political party seems to be concerned about the problem. Despite different estimates, one thing is clear that a number of children are disappearing and most of them are not coming back to their home. Is this not a failure of our system?

Not a single government agency is ready to say as to where these children are going? In fact, they have no idea. They never tried to check this problem. On the name of serving children, the government constitutes different agencies but they seem to be the means of employment to those, who are close to decision makers. It’s high time to take some strict steps to curb the cases of missing children otherwise calling them future of nation will be meaningless.

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