Even as Madhya Pradesh police launched a one-month special drive on January 1 to track down missing children, as many as 32 children went missing in the past 24 hours in the state as per union ministry of woman and child development (WCD)’s National Tracking System for Missing and Vulnerable children.
During this period WCD and police recovered five children as per the ministry’s data. However, as per the WCD sources, it’s not known if the recovered children were out of these 32 children or those who went missing earlier.
As per the ministry’s data till January 2 night 862 children were reported missing in the past 30 days. Similarly, in the past one year the children who went missing were 2993 in number. During the period of one year the WCD recovered 3142 children and police 189.
Supreme Court reportedly expressed anguish in November last over failure of Madhya Pradesh government in taking effective measures in this regard and summoned chief secretary Anthony JC DeSa. Earlier, in October the court criticized state governments for their laxity in tracking down the missing children.
Social activist Prashant Dubey said besides want of required staff the police force in Madhya Pradesh lacked seriousness in solving the cases of missing children. The only difference seen in the past few months was the police started to lodge FIRs in the cases of missing children due to Supreme Court taking a serious note of the same. Earlier, police used to avoid lodging of FIRs in most of such cases.
Talking to Hindustan Times Dubey said of late the figure of missing children went up to about 30 every day from 24 on an average. The children were being taken away to other places in the state and outside for labour work, forced marriages or to push them into a flesh trade. Some of missing children were traced even in Iran and Iraq.
Commissioner Women Empowerment, Madhya Pradesh Kalpana Shrivastava said the department was monitoring closely the cases of missing children. Last month, there was a meeting of authorities from several departments including WCD, police, tribal welfare and law in regard with the missing children.
The IAS officer said the department had asked the school of good governance to undertake a comprehensive study on the missing children.
Talking to HT home minister Babulal Gaur said a control room had been set up in every district to coordinate the police action. Police were trying to ascertain the reasons also behind children going missing. These might include children leaving homes on being annoyed with their families due to different reasons or their being kidnapped or lured by anybody.
He said the photographs and details of missing children had been sent to the every district in the state as well as the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh. So far, there was no information about any big gang of criminals involved in kidnapping or luring the children from the state.