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Missing persons? kin search for police action

As a large number of people go missing, the city police remain in slumber. Perhaps, they doze off when the facts are put up before them. The following facts show how apathetic the police are towards the missing persons. As many as 144 people, including 30 minors, have gone missing since January this year. Only 10, including three minors, have returned home. Majority of the missing persons belong to middle class families.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 00:17 IST

As a large number of people go missing, the city police remain in slumber. Perhaps, they doze off when the facts are put up before them.

The following facts show how apathetic the police are towards the missing persons. As many as 144 people, including 30 minors, have gone missing since January this year.

Only 10, including three minors, have returned home. Majority of the missing persons belong to middle class families.

Dozens of complainants have been running from pillar to post, seeking police help to trace their loved ones for several years. But, the police have been of little help. At least two complainants knocked at the senior superintendent of police’s door. They accused police of not lodging first information reports (FIRs) about their missing relatives.

Indeed, the police seldom lodge FIRs about missing persons, despite there being clear-cut legal proceedings to lodge them under any section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Some days ago, the SSP issued instructions to police stations to register information about missing persons in the general diary (GD). But, the ground reality remains the same — the police continue to use the absence of an FIR as an alibi to go slow on investigations. The result: majority of missing reports are later converted into cases of murder. It is the same story every month.

At a recent seminar, inspector general Rameshwar Dayal said many boys and girls fell prey to gangs involved in trafficking children. These children are sold to gangs in other countries, or are forced to engage in illegal activities in other states. Dayal appealed to the district police to take cognizance of such FIRs about missing children and initiate sincere effort to trace them.

The extent of police apathy can be gauged from an incident that took place in Qaiserbagh in 2001. A hotel owner Mohammad Usman’s missing son was murdered, while another one went missing after a year. The police remained indifferent all the time.

Usman of Nazirabad, Qaiserbagh, stated that his elder son Mohammad Adnan (10) went missing on July 31, 2001. He informed the police immediately, but the cops did not take any initiative to find the boy, even though Usman informed them about threats and ransom calls. Adnan’s body was recovered in the Dewa area of Barabanki the next day.

While Usman was yet to recover from the death of Adnan, his youngest son Mohammad Atif went missing on August 22, 2002. All Usman’s efforts to trace his son went in vain, as the cops did not help him again. The case was transferred to the Special Task Force later. But, they, too failed, to collect clues about the missing boy. Usman then went to the High Court and the court transferred the case to the CB-CID.  

The CB-CID, notorious for putting cases on the backburner, is yet to come to a conclusion.

In yet another case, a 52-year-old junior engineer with Jal Nigam (Hardoi) Ashok Nigam was reported missing from his 62-A, Kurmanchal Nagar residence, under Ghazipur police station on July 9, 2003. Nigam’s wife Kanchan Lata pleaded with the then station officer (SO) to register a case. The SO lodged an entry in general diary (GD) of the police station (no-35) about Nigam having one missing and gave the complainant short shrift, asking her to search for her husband on her own. The police have now washed their hands of the case. The family members kept waiting for Nigam.

Kusum Lata contacted all her relatives, family friends and acquaintances in Lucknow and other states, but failed to get any clue about her missing husband. She had to provide for r her daughter Pooja and son Varun, who are still studying, and her mother-in-law Indrawati. Now, she receives pension from her husband’s department, which is the only source of income for the family. None of the policemen from the local police station ever visited the aggrieved family, regarding an inquiry.  

Deputy inspector general (DIG), Lucknow range, Subhash Chandra admitted, “The police do go slow in investigating cases of missing persons, since no FIR is lodged.” But, he said the police could initiate action, only if they had vital clues related to the reasons for the person going missing.

Though senior officer admit laxity in lodging FIRs, action against the guilty is yet to be taken.

Till then, many a life continues to be lost to apathy.