In an incident that exposes the lackadaisical attitude of Delhi Police towards investigating cases of missing children, an eight-year-old girl could not meet her parents for six months.
Shaila (name changed) went missing from her house at Anand Parbat in central Delhi in June and was found by Hazrat Nizamuddin police of southeast Delhi a few days later. But due to lack of coordination between the two districts, the girl was sent to a child shelter home.
According to norms, information about missing children is available on Delhi Police's website and the staff of Nizamuddin police could have checked the site and sent the child back. It was only due to the efforts of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Lajpat Nagar, that Shaila was reunited with her parents. The CWC had published a photograph of the child in a newspaper after which the girl's parents contacted them and found their missing daughter.
The CWC pulled up the cops over the shoddy investigation. "There seems to be no efforts from the investigating officer … otherwise the child would have been returned back," the committee said.
"There are hundreds of missing children whose cases are registered in Delhi but there is no seriousness on the part of the police station concerned to coordinate among them. The role of the missing person's squad is also not clear as a coordinating unit," the CWC said in its order.
A copy of the order has been sent to joint commissioners of police of all ranges and the CWC has asked them to streamline the system for tracing children.