Over the past 10 days, the Delhi police, infamous for its lackadaisical attitude towards missing persons, have managed to trace and rescue at least 40 girls who had gone missing.
These missing girls were found as part of the police’s investigation to identify the skeletal remains of a body found in Vasant Vihar on July 3.
It all started when parents of more than 40 missing girls came to the local police station after reading about the recovered body. Left with no choice, the police investigated each complaint in order to identify the body and traced each of the missing 40 girls.
“In the Vasant Vihar case, we took details from each person who approached us. We began connecting the links and traced more than 40 girls. More girls will be traced as we are contacting parents whose daughters went missing in the last few months,” said a police officer.
“A man contacted us claiming that the body could be of his missing daughter. We started looking for his daughter and found her in UP. Like this, many other girls have been traced and these parents are, in fact, happy that their daughters have been located,” the officer said.
Experts say like the Vasant Vihar case, police should investigate all missing complaints. “Tracing missing persons is not a priority for police. This is exactly what happened in Nithari (where the mutilated bodies of more than 20 children and young women who had gone missing over two years, were found in a drain behind a house while the police had refused to even register the complaints). After this, police were asked to form special squads and take all missing complaints seriously. But we hardly see them doing so. It seems human life is not important,” said Ranjana Kumari, a women right’s activist.
Cases of missing persons in the age group of 16 and 25 are often dismissed as elopments. “If the parents are influential or have contacts at the higher level, their complaints are followed up. The rest are mostly ignored,” said a senior police officer requesting anonymity.
This year, police have failed to trace 30% of the missing persons. Till June 30, 6,395 persons were reported missing. Of these, police were able to trace 4,071 while 2,324 are still untraced.
A senior police officer, however, said missing persons complaint were taken seriously by Delhi Police and the Station House Officers have been told to maintain a register, which has to be reviewed every day.
“Even when a DCP and above level officer visits a police station one of the three registers he scans is of missing persons. The SHO is responsible so he does take the missing person complaints seriously,” he said.