After months of failed pleas, New Delhi resident Imtiyaz Alam went to Noida this week with voluntary activists who said they would help him find his disappeared son. They said they could help him get compensation if they registered their complaint — but he would have to share half.
Grieving parents of missing children are flooded with offers of help — some from good Samaritans, but many others from middlemen feeding on the tragedy, claiming to be from non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
"We were told by these social workers that we could get the compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a plot by registering our complaints at Noida," said Alam, a Kalkaji resident. "However, they have demanded a 50 per cent share if we get the compensation."
As compensation, families of 17 missing people have been allotted plots of 26 sq. metres in Noida's expensive Sector 122, along the Greater Noida Expressway, apart from Rs 10 lakh each. Each plot of land is estimated to cost Rs 8 lakh at current real estate prices.
A Hindustan Times journalist met one such purported NGO worker at the Sector 20 police station in Noida, but he refused to give his name, or details of his organisation, to the newspaper. Within minutes, he left the station along with at least six parents of missing children, when they were told that compensation would be given only when the serial killer identified the photographs of his children and their DNA matched with samples taken from the house or the drain.
"The administration has appealed to the persons coming in search of their missing wards not to fall prey to unscrupulous persons who has been promising compensation to the innocent illiterate parents," City Magistrate Shaumaya Gupta told The Hindustan Times. "These unscrupulous persons … were even contacting policemen and politicians and tried to strike a deal to get their names in the list," said Mahesh Saxena, general secretary of the voluntary group Noida Lok Manch. UK Bharadwaj, president of another Noida-based group Manav Sewa Samiti, said some people had come from New Delhi, offering to work for the organisation, and urging him to use his influence to get compensation to selected people.