If there is one incident that everyone remembers when the topic of missing children comes up, it is the one that happened in 2006 in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The police recovered skeletons of children from a house in a residential area called Nithari. The children, mostly from poor families living around the area, were murdered by a local businessman Moninder Singh Pandher and his servant Surender Koli. They were both given the death sentence: While Koli is in jail, Pandher is out on bail. As the case was investigated, a startling fact came out: The local police did not pay heed to the parents of these children when they complained about their missing wards.
This lack of police support when such complaints happen is not new: According to experts, the law and order machinery in this country does not give any special focus on tracing missing children. So it was hardly surprising to see that the data on missing children that was placed by the home ministry in Parliament in July: Over 325,000 children went missing between 2011 and 2014 (till June) at an average of nearly 100,000 every year.
Children go missing for a number of reasons: Kidnapping by family or non-family members for trafficking purposes, for organ trade, runaway cases and children who are lost. In 2013, the Supreme Court had criticised the lack of interest the Central and state governments showed when it came to filing with its Bench the status of missing children. This lacklustre attitude towards this issue is not only criminal but also shows how little we care about the young of this country.