The five-year-old rape victim from east Delhi's Gandhi Nagar was not the only child who went missing from the area. Four other girls - one aged two and the others 16-year-olds - have remained untraced after they went missing this year. Though the police managed to find the five-year-old, the fates of the remaining four remain uncertain.
In the past 108 days (three months and 18 days), 617 children, who went missing this year, are yet to be found, reveals data accessed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan from Delhi Police. Of these, most children are from southeast, outer and east Delhi.
Worse, parents of these missing children have to face police apathy when they try to get a complaint filed.
"On an average, three to four children remained untraced every day till last year. But the data pegs this number at six per day this year. If police are able to find these children, there is a possibility of averting brutal incidents such as that of the five-year-old's," said Rakesh Sengar, from Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
According to the NGO, of the 106 children who remained untraced in southeast Delhi, 65 were girls. In outer Delhi, 66 girls are yet to be traced, while 51 missing girls are yet to be found in east district. "This case should be an eye-opener for the police who keep sitting on such cases. They need to be more cautious as even small steps can save several children," Rishikant of Shakti Vahini NGO said.
The Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat defended the force. "Every missing case has to be seen individually. We always make efforts to trace missing children but all cases have different facts and no case should be seen in isolation," he said.