Guidelines to make police file FIRs for missing children

August 10th, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS  

By Richa Sharma
New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The national child rights body is preparing guidelines to make it compulsory for police to file FIRs - or formal complaints - of missing children, with India reporting 44,000 such cases annually. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is doing so after complaints from parents and child rights activists that often police refuse to take action in the case of missing children.

“We are preparing guidelines to make sure that an FIR (first information report) is registered within 24 hours if a parent approaches the police with the complaint of a missing child,” NCPCR member Sandhya Bajaj told IANS.

“In the case of missing children, a formal complaint has to be registered by the police. But parents have to run from pillar to post for it,” Bajaj said.

Once the guidelines are prepared, the NCPCR will send it to the women and child development ministry, proposing an amendment in the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act in this regard.

“Efforts are being made to fix accountability with police who otherwise show a callous attitude towards complaints of missing children,” Bajaj said.

According to official data, in India more than 44,000 children of all ages go missing annually and Delhi tops the list with 6.7 percent of the total cases.

The data was collated by the National Human Rights Commission after the Nithari serial killings in which the remains of 20 young girls and women - who were raped and murdered - were found in a drain in Noida.

“We welcome the move as in most cases, the cops are reluctant to register a complaint in the matter,” social activist Lokesh Batra said.

Batra, who has filed a complaint with the NCPCR over increasing cases of missing children, alleged: “In June, Ghaziabad police called the parents of missing children and asked them to file statements that police are taking action in the cases.”

Members of the NGO CRY who have been dealing with missing children in Delhi have the same story to share.

“There are parents whose children have been missing for the last several years and police have still not registered a complaint saying the kids have gone away on their own and will return themselves,” CRY member Rina Banerjee said.

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