A 23-year-old girl went missing from an economically poorer part of the Capital. To add insult to injury, the Delhi Police allegedly asked her parents to calm down as she was of ‘marriageable age’.
A whole month later, her parents are not interested in their daughter’s relationship status or whether or not she had eloped – just like they weren’t when she had disappeared. All they want to know is if she is still alive.
“It was a Monday and she said she was going to collect her mark sheet from college. We waited for long but she never returned,” her father said. “We approached the local police station where the police were clearly not interested and asked us to look for her ourselves,” he further added
The woman was reported missing at northeast Delhi’s New Seemapuri police station on February 10.
A few days later, as they looked for her with a police team in tow - a policeman told the father that ‘the search was over as far as he was concerned and she had probably eloped’.
The identity of the family has been withheld.
The Delhi Police registers thousands of complaints of missing persons every year and has a proper procedure to investigate the disappearance of those belonging to ‘vulnerable categories’ such as women and children.
On May 5, 2012, the Delhi Police has issued a circular that required a senior police personnel such as Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACPs) to be first responders in the case of missing persons, especially minors.
“A sizeable majority of those who are reported to have gone missing have been found to be between 18 and 25 years old,” said a senior police officer.
“Past experience has shown that most of these cases are of elopement and not kidnapping,” he further added.
But should their past experience be allowed to standardise reaction to similar cases in the future? The missing woman’s father thinks it shouldn’t.
“So what if she eloped? I’ am her father and I still have the right to know whether she is alive or not. The police can’t just suggest that she seemed to have eloped and do nothing about it; can they?” he asked.