Seven kids go missing in Delhi every day

July 20th, 2011 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 20 (IANS) Many fathers and mothers in Delhi, especially from the working class, are coping with a sudden vacuum in their lives: their children have disappeared. Seven kids have gone missing here every day on an average over the past month and a half, according to official figures.

The data, as sourced from the Zonal Integrated Police Network (ZIPNet) and compiled by child rights NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), says 331 children have gone missing from Delhi in the period between June 1, 2011, until July 18.

“Over the past one and a half months, seven children have been going missing every day in Delhi! What is even more shocking is the low rate of recovery by police,” Kailash Satyarthi of BBA told IANS.

According to the data, from the beginning of this year until July 18, a total of 921 children have gone missing in Delhi. Most of the children are in the age group of 12-15.

“Of the 921 children who have gone missing, only 315 have been traced. Meaning, over 600 children are still missing. This poses a big question on the role of the police in tracing the missing kids,” Satyarthi said.

The maximum number of children went missing in the month of June - 183. According to BBA, the reason is that around June-July, a number of children are trafficked for labour to other states.

“A chunk of the kids who have gone missing belong to the low socio-economic strata of society and are from areas like Narela, Bawana in outer Delhi and Khanpur in south Delhi which are connected to the industrial belt,” a BBA activist said.

“Most of the missing children come from migrant families who are here for employment. The children of these families generally don’t go to school and are by themselves for most part of the day when their parents go out for work,” he added.

“As per our analysis, a number of children who go missing from these areas are trafficked for cheap labour. In outer Delhi, the number of boys missing is more than girls,” the activist said.

Social activists also fear that most of the girls going missing are trafficked into the sex trade.

Citing one example, he said: “There was this case in Aman Vihar in outer Delhi when a domestic worker’s son went missing last month. She had migrated from Bihar a few months back and while her son did attend school there, here he did not.”

All of 10 years, the child went missing from his home one fine day when she had gone for work.

“She lodged a complaint, but till date there has been no progress,” the BBA activist said.

Another distressed parent is Amar Choubey whose son, Akash, went missing March 19 this year from another part of Delhi.

“Akash was playing in the street in front of our house with his friends when all of a sudden we realised that he was missing. Initially, we thought he may be hiding somewhere. But when he did not come after some time, we were alarmed,” Choubey said.

“We looked everywhere…it was shocking because everyone living on the street knew Akash. We lodged an FIR (first information report with police) the same day, but till date there is no information on him,” the heartbroken father said.

In March this year, the Delhi High Court took a serious view of police failure to trace missing children and directed the Delhi Police chief to constitute a task force to find out if gangs were involved in child trafficking.

A division bench consisting of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna pulled up police while referring to a report filed by the Delhi Legal Services Authority stating that over 500 children missing over the past one year have not been rescued.

As per the month-wise breakup of children going missing this year, 89 children went missing in January, 104 in February, 132 in March, 127 in April, 130 in May, 183 in June and 157 in July (until July 18).

(Azera Rahman can be contacted at azera.p@ians.in)

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