A majority of children go missing from the city either because they wanted to leave home or after they were scolded by parents, revealed a study by the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), a statutory body appointed by the high court to provide legal assistance to the families of missing children.
The DLSA spoke to 457 children who had gone missing but later returned home. It found that only 3% were kidnapped with criminal intentions.
While 176 (38%) of them left home because they wanted to, 94 (21%) children had been scolded by parents. Seventy-nine (17%) lost their way (see grahic), Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said.
According to Delhi Police, till September 30, 2012, 4,017 children were reported missing (14 children a day). Of them, 2,894 were traced and sent home. “Also, parents do not inform the police when their child returns home. So there is a possibility that the remaining the number of children yet to be traced (1,123) is be much less,” Bhagat added.
Delhi Police claimed that as soon as a child’s missing report is filed, a case of kidnapping is registered. If a child (aged 2-8 years) is not traced in four months, the case is transferred to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the district.
Another problem the police face is that the families of these children are rarely photographed as most of the times the families are extremely poor. “A programme called Pehchan has been launched by the Delhi Police in which people from slums are encouraged to get themselves photographed along with their children. A copy of the photograph is given to the parents and another remains with the police,” Bhagat said.