Senior Supreme Court advocate and Aam Aadmi Party leader HS Phoolka is going to take up the issue of missing persons of the country, especially Punjab, before the Supreme Court on Monday. “Over 1,00,000 children go missing in India, almost 11 every hour and 3 of these are never recovered, as per the information provided by the National Crime Records Bureau,” Phoolka said.
Following a strike by the civil society groups in Faridkot over the growing incidence of missing cases, especially children, Phoolka said, “It is the duty and responsibility of the state government to trace them out and provide protection and help to their parents. The children are not vanishing in the air – they are being trafficked for all illegal purposes, including bonded labour and drug peddling. It is clear that the present government is not concerned over the issue and has not even framed guidelines following directions of the Supreme Court in this regard.”
In Punjab, while 675 and 736 children went missing in Punjab in 2011 and 2012, 690 children were reported missing in 2013. Activists are calling it a tip of the iceberg with a large number of missing and trafficked children from other states also being brought to Punjab.
Phoolka has also promised all support to parents of the missing children and has said that he is willing to take up their issue before all possible authorities to help them in finding their children.
On May 10, 2013, in a case filed by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the apex court, in a landmark judgment, had mandated the compulsory registration and investigation of all cases of missing children as kidnapping or trafficking, all states (including Punjab) were directed to make a protocol or standard operating procedure on investigation of missing children cases, and provide adequate shelter homes and funds within 3 months.
However, the state government has not yet filed any response or status report on the implementation of this judgment as yet.