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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Six children went missing every day from Mumbai in last 3 years

 Nearly six children on average went missing from Mumbai every day of the last three years and many of them are yet to be traced, a Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed.
   The Mumbai police recorded 6,345 cases of missing children (aged up to 14) from 2010 to 2012. While the majority of the disappeared were eventually discovered, about 10% of the cases remained unsolved. "The police failed in tracking down 11% missing boys and 10.5% missing girls. Worse, one per cent of the missing boys were found dead," said activist Chetan Kothari, whose RTI query to the Mumbai crime branch's missing persons bureau elicited the statistics.
   A review of the figures shows that more boys than girls went missing in the three years. Also, more children disappeared in 2012 than the previous year. In 2011, a total of 1,106 boys and 782 girls disappeared; the next year, those totals went up, respectively, by around 30% and 34%.
   A senior officer said most missing children turn out to be runaways: "they are usually easy to trace". From 2010 to 2012, the Mumbai police tracked 88% of the missing boys and 89% of the missing girls. Nonetheless, the number of cases that remained unsolved was worryingly high, another officer conceded.
   As in Mumbai, the figures were disconcerting in Maharashtra. As per the data collated by the National Crime Records Bureau, 26,211 children went missing in Maharashtra from January 2008 to January 2011—the most of any state in the country. During the same period, 25,413 children went missing in West Bengal, 13,750 in Delhi, and 12,777 in Madhya Pradesh.
   A public interest litigation filed by an NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, in the Supreme Court stated that over 1.7 lakh children went missing in the country in the two years from January 2008. Of these, 55,450 are reportedly yet to be traced. The petition expressed the fear that many missing children were kidnapped for sex trafficking and child labour.
   For the families of the disappeared, every passing year worsens the pain. Thirty-fiveyear-old George Vincent's elder brother went missing in Mumbai in 1991, but he and his family are yet to find closure. "It has been over 22 years. My brother ran away after he was scolded for not going to church on a Sunday," said Vincent, who is now a resident of Kerala. "He never came back home. And the police are unable to trace him."


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