The India International Trade Fair (IITF) could provide stiff competition to the Kumbh Mela. Not for the huge crowds, which throng Pragati Maidan every year, but for the number of children who go missing at the fair.
However, unlike the Kumbh Mela, all children who were separated from their parents — their number has touched 198 this year — were reunited thanks to prompt action by the Delhi Police, IITF officials and good Samaritans.
Last Sunday, 35 children had gone missing. As worried parents looked for them everywhere, the children, all below 10 years, struggled alone among thousands of people.
However, all of them were reunited with their parents by evening after being spotted and brought to the ‘Missing Persons Booth’ set up in the joint control room of the IITF. The trade fair attracts over one lakh people daily and on weekends this figure doubles.
“During the last 11 days, 198 children got separated from their parents and were brought to the booth. Out of them, 195 were reunited with their parents at the booth on the same day itself. Three children who had been handed over to the police station of IITF too were handed over to their respective families later,” said AS Cheema, DCP, narcotics and crime prevention.
Of the 198, 119 were boys and 79 girls. They belonged to various places in Delhi and neighbouring areas like Ghaziabad, Faridabad, Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak.
As parents coming to the trade fair, the police said, sometimes become very busy with shopping and other things, they forget about their children who get separated while loitering around. The Delhi Police post specially trained officers to deal with such situations. “We have got specially trained officers at these booths who talk to children, give them toffees and provide some entertainment. Posters and boards informing the general public about the missing persons booth have been placed all over,” Cheema said.
Policemen have been directed to be extra vigilant during the last three days.
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