For Pankaj Mandal, whose three-year-old daughter Payal has been missing from Okhla for the past one week, the news of the battered baby admitted in AIIMS came as a ray of hope. But all his optimism vanished when he saw her pictures in the newspapers. He says his daughter was taller and healthier than that baby.
While the two-year-old waits for her parents to turn up, there are many on the other side of the story who reach hospitals and morgues whenever there’s news about an abandoned child or unidentified body being found.
Child rights activists feel a system of tracking missing children does not exist in India. And that’s one reason why there are thousands of abandoned kids on the streets of Delhi, they say.
“There’s no system through which these kids could be reported if found. A central information system doesn’t exist,” said Amoth Kanth, former chairman of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Police say that on an average, 14,000 kids go missing and are tracked every year. In December last year, 171 children were reported missing officially.
“It’s quite typical of the government to be apathetic about the plight of abandoned children. In Delhi alone, there are nearly 60,000 such kids,” added Kanth.
In the infamous Neetu Solanki case, dozens had turned up in a single day to claim her body. Solanki’s body was found in a bag at New Delhi Railway Station in March last year.
“The recent case of the battered baby is sort of ironical. The baby’s whereabouts are unknown and the girl who allegedly inflicted those injuries on her was herself abandoned,” said Dr Ranjana Kumari, Director of Centre for Social Research.
Mother in trauma since she went missing
New Delhi: On December 10, Kiran, a class IV student at an MCD school in Okhla, went out to play just like she did every afternoon. Only, she never returned.
Her father Rajesh, a resident of Indira Kalyan camp, Okhla phase I, has been spending his days and nights looking for the 11-year-old. Kiran’s uncle Rupesh alleges that a teenaged boy who used to work in a nearby factory has kidnapped his niece.
Kiran’s father works as a driver and can barely put in resources to track her. The police, he says, haven’t done enough to track his daughter.
Kiran’s younger sister Jyoti says her mother has been in trauma since the day her sister went missing. “I don’t know if we will ever find her,” she says. htc
Family suspects girl has been kidnapped
New Delhi: Little Payal has been missing for over a week now and her mother Pinky has been looking for her three-year-old daughter in all nearby areas. She leaves home at 6am and comes back disappointed at 10pm.
Payal went missing from outside her house in Okhla phase II on January 24 and the police are yet to trace her whereabouts. Her father Pankaj Madal is apprehensive about Payal’s whereabouts. “She was playing outside the house. I think someone has kidnapped her,” said Mandal, who hasn’t slept for a week now.
Since the day she went missing, the family has made four public announcements in an auto and is now cash-strapped to make more such efforts. htc