It is a record no one can be proud of. One hundred children have been reported missing from the city within the first 12 days of February — a record, according to Delhi Police statistics.
Of the 100 children that went missing, 65 were girls. Last month, a total of 122 children went missing,out if which 64 were girls.
This year, 222 children have gone missing already. This means five children are reported missing every day.
“There is a surge in the number of children going missing this month. We are investigating all the cases. And we don't see any pattern in this. According to our information, there is no organised gang operating in the city,” said a senior police official.
The number of children going missing could rise over last year's figure of 1,179, if one goes by the rate of such incidents this year. “Women and children going missing is the biggest problem in the city but no one wants to acknowledge it. There are organised gangs that are trafficking these victims but there is no system to crack down on them,” said Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research (CSR).
According to Delhi Police statistics, outer Delhi topped the list, with 20 missing children, followed by west Delhi (19), south-east Delhi (12) and south-west Delhi (11).
The north-east district recorded eight such cases while north-west, east and south districts reported 7 cases.
The outer and west districts also topped the list of missing girls, with 12 cases each. Eight girls each went missing from south-east and south-west districts, the official said.
The statistics also illustrated that February 4 was the date when the maximum number of children — 14 — went missing.
“There were five days — February 1, 3, 4, 5 and 9 — when these cases were in double digits,” the official said. While on February 1, 10 cases were reported, on February 3, the figure was 11.
The figures for February 5 were 10 and for February 9, they were 11. February 11 saw nine cases and seven cases were reported on February 12, the official said.
Last year, the north-west district had registered the highest number of cases — 250 — of missing children, followed by south-west district (154) and east district (121).
On January 27 this year, parents of around 50 children who had gone missing in the past few years had approached Delhi Police commissioner BK Gupta, seeking better police intervention in such cases.
Gupta had assured that the Delhi Police would take all possible steps to help trace the missing children.
According to Delhi Police, a total of 41 minors, including a newborn baby and a one-year-old boy, were found abandoned in the capital this year so far.