Parents of missing children appeal to President Patil

July 30th, 2008 - 10:11 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Pratibha Patil

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Girija Devi is still hopeful of finding her son who went missing 14 years ago. She was amongst the several parents who Wednesday submitted an appeal to President Pratibha Patil urging immediate action to search for their children. Girija Devi’s son was 12 years old when he disappeared and she claims the police refused to even register a complaint.

Suneeta has a similar story to tell.

“My son went to the park near our house in Moti Bagh (south Delhi) to play with his friends in May, but he never returned home. It is almost three months and I have visited the police station at least 10 times, but it is no use,” said the mother of seven-year-old Rohit.

But now people like Girija and Sunita have decided to fight back. Parents of 84 missing children in the city have joined a campaign run by Child Rights and You (CRY) and have submitted a memorandum to the president, urging her attention in the matter.

The appeal has also been sent to National Human Rights Commission chairperson Justice Rajendra Babu and Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.

“We have demanded that necessary action be taken to search for the missing children and immediate relief provided to their parents,” said one of the parents.

Along with the appeal, the parents have also submitted a survey report on missing children carried out by CRY along with another NGO, Alliance for People’s Rights.

“The survey reveals that maximum of the missing children are girls in the age group of 12-19 years and most of them belong to marginalised communities residing in slums and resettlement colonies. Many of these families are migrant families, deprived of most basic amenities - even access to law,” said Rina Banerjee, who carried out the survey.

For 45-year-old Shanaz Begum, her daughter’s disappearance cost her her husband and son’s lives also.

“My daughter was not able speak or hear. She went to a shop to get milk and never returned. My 20-year-old son and husband both died of this shock,” Begum said with a choking voice.

“I went to the police station and I was told that ‘we have other work to do’ and that my daughter would return on her own,” she added.

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