A special Noida Police team has been set up to investigate the case of missing children in the area. Around 34 children were reported missing from Nithari, Harola and Naya Bans.
According to Gautam Budh Nagar police, 34 children between the age group of 3 and 12 years were reported missing in September. Of these, police managed to trace 24 children but ten of them are still untraceable.
Fifty-eight children have been reported missing so far (between January 1, 2006 and September 30, 2006). Police found 32 children but there is still no clue about the remaining 26 children. According to police records, 36 minors are yet to be traced. But the unofficial figure is much higher.
"Thirty-eight children have gone missing from Nithari so far. Seven from the same spot and that too within 15 days," says Jhabulal, a washerman whose 10-year-old daughter Jyoti went missing on June 21 last year. "She is still to be found. All that the police tell me is that they are looking for her," he says.
"It is an astounding figure and I don't believe that police cannot do anything about it. If the police want, they can certainly nab the people behind this act," says Aruna Arora, senior vice-president, Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations.
Most of the missing children belong to rickshawalas, washermen and other service personnel working in the area.
Parents of the children allege that the police often refuse to lodge an FIR. They also accuse the police of harassing them. "They just noted our complaint and shunted us out," says a father.
"They accused my daughter of having run away with her boyfriend," says another.
Denying the allegations, SSP RKS. Rathore said that there might have been a delay but all the cases are been investigated.
"We cannot term all of them as kidnappings since no one has either seen a child being forcibly taken away nor has there been any call for ransom," Rathore said.
"We have not ruled out the possibility of the children being taken away for prostitution or begging. So, we are flushing the red light areas of other states. We did recover some children from Agra's infamous Basai village but they are not from this city," he added.
A special team under the circle officer (City-I) has been set up to work specifically on recovery of these missing children.
The team comprises women police officers and policemen from the Special Operation Group (SOG).
It is making house-to-house search in the city but so far no child has been recovered.
"Most children have gone missing from Nithari, Harola and Naya Bans where labourers stay. Since both parents leave for work in the morning, children are left in the open. It may be possible the children lost their way. Further, many children leave their home on their own and then return," Rathore said.
"Women police officers are visiting these villages and slum clusters to educate mothers not to leave their children unattended. Plus, tenants are also being verified," the SSP added