In response to frequent incidents of children going missing in Madhya Pradesh, a group of young forensic experts have started an innovative campaign of building a database of fingerprints of children at shelter homes, railway stations and schools.
The fingerprints collected are then handed over to the authorities of shelter homes, school administration and parents. The idea behind the campaign is to help parents recognise their children in case they go missing at an early age and are later recovered.
The forensic experts are organising campaigns at various places urging parents to record their children’s hand and fingerprints and to keep it with them.
“Fingerprints of a person never changes in their lifetime. Keeping a record of fingerprints is the easiest and least expensive medium of identifying a child if he/she goes missing at an early age. Everyone can’t afford to get a DNA test done as it is very expensive,” said forensic expert Anil Raikwar, one of the members of the team.
The facility is free of cost for poor children and those living in shelter homes. The enterprising experts work under the aegis of Ideal Forensic Investigation Research and Development, an organisation associated with NGO Drishti Lok Foundation and Social Research Society.
“There are several children in various shelter homes of Bhopal who were unable to reunite with their family members. We face several issues related to the identification of missing children when children grow up.
In such cases, DNA testing is the only solution, which is time consuming and expensive. With the help of fingerprinting, identification can be done (in) minutes,” said director of NGO Childline Archana Sahay.
Apart from fingerprints, other important data related to the child such as blood group, eye colour, hair form, etc are also recorded.
“We have started our campaign from shelter homes, (and) we are getting a good response. Now we have decided to coordinate with the Bhopal police so that identification data of poor children who wander the city in search of work and food can be also covered under our campaign. These children are more prone to crime,” said Pushkal Pandey, another member of the group.
According to Regional Forensic Science Laboratory Bhopal in-charge Dr Harsh Sharma, fingerprinting plays a very important role in the identification of a missing child. He said the initiative was appreciable.