Missing children figures in Delhi rising each year’

Express News Service

New Delhi, January 24: Child rights activists and NGOs today held a consultation on “Missing Children of India’’ at the Centre For Social Research (CSR).

Activists at the forum said that it is not just about Nithari, but most of the cases of missing children in India go unreported. “The killings at Nithari provide grim evidence of a sickness in the system. The most disturbing allegations arising from the murky drains of Nithari are those of defaults in how the state deals with unimportant people,’’ said Razia Ismail Abbasi, co-convenor of the India Alliance for Child Rights.

The consultation had Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Kiran Walia, IPS officer Anju Gupta, lawyer Aatreyee Sen, Sankar Sen from the Indian Institute of Social Sciences and Dr Ranjana Kumari, director of the CSR among the panelists.

The participants discussed the prevention and protection strategies that need to be adopted to reduce the rate of missing children’s cases in India. Activists at the meet suggested child helplines should be universalised besides having a website of missing children to track the cases.

As per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), crime against children is enlisted under different heads like procurement of minor girls, kidnapping for abduction ranging from exporting to ransom and about 15,000 cases were reported in 2005 as against 14,423 in 2003.

“The number of cases has been increasing over the years. According to the National Human Rights Commission’s report on trafficking of women and children, in Delhi alone, an average of 6,227 children go missing every year,’’ said Dr Ranjana Kumari.

“Proper implementation of existing laws would be enough if they are systemically correct. A child welfare committee is supposed to be there in each district of police but in Delhi itself, there are only four committees while there are nine districts,’’ said Kiran Walia.

Pointing to the laxity of police, Sankar Sen said “political pressure on police forces is also a cause of inaction”. “Most of the cases are not lodged only because of pressure and that is also the reason for manipulation of figures. States are opposing police reforms only because it will take control out of their hands,’’ he said.

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