Delhi Police air ‘concern’, but 26 children still missing

February 18th, 2009 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) The Delhi Police are “very concerned” about the safety of children and will in the next 15 days launch a helpline for missing kids, Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal announced Wednesday after reports of several children missing from an east Delhi area.
“In the next 15 days, we will start a new helpline for the missing children. We are very concerned about children and serious about their protection,” Dadwal told reporters here.

Earlier reports said that six teenagers, including three girls, were missing from the New Sanjay Amar Colony area behind the Karkadooma courts complex for over a week ago. According to residents, over 20 children are missing from the area for the past seven-eight years.

The police suspect it to be the case of mass elopement and have registered two cases of kidnapping.

The six teens left for their Sarvodya Vidyalaya school in Vishwas Nagar Feb 10. They are all neighbours and are in the age group 14 to 17.

Asked about the case, Dadwal said, “It seems to be a case of elopement as they were all known to each other. We have not found any other pattern in the case.” The police are looking for the teenagers, and have sent search teams to neighbouring states, Dadwal added.

The students had told their parents that they were going to school and would go on a picnic after that.

The police have registered two cases of kidnapping. The first case was registered at the Anand Vihar police station the day after the six went missing and the other at the Farsh Bazaar police station Tuesday.

“Our initial investigations suggest that four of them were in some relationship and have fled their homes together,” Deputy Commissioner of police (east) Anand Mohan told IANS Tuesday.

“Since all the children disappeared at the same time and from the same locality, we suspect that the other two are with the same group. Several police teams are working to trace them.”

Billu Singh, father of one of the girls, said: “I don’t know if she has been kidnapped or not. But since Feb 10 she has not returned.”

Saroj, mother of another girl, said: “We informed the police about it and they assured us that they will find our daughter. But a week has gone past, nothing has happened.”

Meanwhile, according to the residents, over 20 children have gone missing from the area over the past seven-eight years.

“I have a list of about 20 children with me who have gone missing in the past few years. Not a single child has returned,” said Raj Kumar Dhina, who identified himself as a political worker.

“We have already approached the police, the home ministry and the National Human Rights Commission. But nothing has happened so far. Children are disappearing every month. We want a thorough investigation into the matter,” added Dhina, who is also a real estate agent.

He said in December last year a 16-year-old boy - brother of one of the teenagers who went missing Feb 10 - disappeared from the colony. “A three-year-old boy also went missing in December. In the same month a 14-year-old boy also went missing from nearby Vishwas Nagar colony.”

The father of the missing 14-year-old said the boy was playing outside the house when he went missing.

“First we thought he is not coming back home due to fear of scolding from his mother. But so far we have no news of him. We approached the police but they are not helping us,” alleged Prasad, who works in a printing press.

–Indo-Asian New Service


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