A father who refuses to believe that his son is dead despite claiming his body, and a mother who considers her two abducted children dead. These are but two faces of a large section of society whose children have gone missing.
A report by Child Rights and You (CRY), a child rights organisation, reveals that 1,238 children between ages of 0 and 18 have been reported missing in just four months — between January and April — in 2011. However, police records puts this figure at 408.
CRY filed RTI applications in all police stations in 10 districts of the city and arrived at the figure of 1,238. According to the report, 690 girls and 570 boys have gone missing from Delhi.
“The highest percentage of missing children — at 72.8% — is for children between the ages 12 and 18. This group is more at risk as it includes older children who can be trafficked for sex trade, labour and marriage. This also includes a large number of children who leave home willingly,” said Jaya Singh, senior manager development support, CRY. The good news is that the recovery rate has been high, at 72.5%.
But in a public hearing organised by CRY on Friday, parents came up with instances where FIRs were not registered by the police.
Even with FIRs being registered, help was not forthcoming, with many losing hope of seeing their children again. “The parents need to know about the procedures the police have to follow when a report of a missing child is filed. This will enable parents to ask for their right and ensure that the police do everything it is supposed to,” said Harsh Mander, social activist.
Amod Kanth, chairperson, Delhi Child Protection of Child Rights, was also present at the meeting. “We will take cognisance of all complaints. Investigations will be carried out again, wherever necessary,” he said.
Her 3 sons went missing, cops didn’t even file FIR
New Delhi: A frail, timid woman from Agra, Kalyani has lived through the abductions of her three sons followed by the death of her husband. Kalyani’s sons aged 14, 12 and 10 went missing within a year in 2002.
“The police did not even file an FIR initially. I visited the police station every month for more than two years but to no avail,” said Kalyani.
Though she managed to locate her eldest son, now 23, last year, he refused to talk to her. “He told me that we did not come to look for him when he was kidnapped,” she said.
Kalyani also approached to police and told them that she had managed to locate her son but it amounted to anything.
“They asked me to arrange a vehicle so that we could go to the village where he was living. I am an old widow and don't have any money to arrange a car,” she said. And there is still no news about her two other children.
He refuses to believe his 9-year-old son is dead
New Delhi: A frantic Banwari Lal rushed to the local police station on a January night and reported that his nine-year-old son, Chetan, had not returned home from school.
But all the police told him was to keep looking while they would do the same. “A day later I got a ransom call. I told the police but they did not trace the call,” Banwari Lal said.
After the plan to nab the abductors fell through, police took Lal to a mortuary in Meerut and showed him the body of a child with a disfigured face. “He was wearing the same clothes as my son,” Lal adds tearfully. But he is not ready to believe that his son is dead.
“The man who was caught told me my son was alive. Also, the doctor who did the post mortem said the dead boy had stitches whereas my son never got any stitches,” Lal said, adding that the police did not help at all.
He, meanwhile, is still waiting for his son to return.