14 children go missing in Delhi everyday: NGO

It`s been more than six years since Saabra Shaikh`s ten-year-old daughter Aatika went missing.

Last Updated: Sep 16, 2013, 18:10 PM IST

New Delhi: It`s been more than six years since Saabra Shaikh`s ten-year-old daughter Aatika went missing.

On April 13, 2008, Aatika had gone out to answer the call of nature and never returned home. Her family members realising her absence, started looking for her. Not able to find her anywhere, they went to the police station to file a missing person`s complaint.

"The officer at the police station charged Rs 500 to file an FIR. He charged some more money to give us a copy of it," alleged Saabra, a resident of Jahagir Puri.

"Everytime we go to the police station, they say they searching for her, but till date there has been no update. Last time we got a clue from Pratapgarh in Faizabad through an acquaintance, but the cops asked us to finance their visit. We are poor people, from where will we get the money?" Saabra said.

The distraught mother now doesn`t let her five-year old daughter Nusrat out of sight even once.

Like Saabra, many more parents of missing children gathered today at a public hearing organised here by NGO Child Relief and You (CRY).

According to a reply to an RTI plea filed by a CRY and Alliance for People`s rights (APR), 4,086 children went missing in 2012 in Delhi.

5,004 children went missing in 2011 and 2,161 had gone missing in 2010 in Delhi.

According to CRY, on an average 14 children go missing in the National Capital every day.

Nina Nayak, Member of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights NCPCR, said, "As soon as a child goes missing, all relevant child protection stakeholders should be alerted for the fast tracking of the case. Inputs of family are paramount in the process of tracing the child."

She also stressed on the convergence between all child protection authorities in the state.

The figures of missing children collected through RTI from Zonal integrated Police network (ZIPNET)and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) are different which shows lack of convergence between the child protection agencies.

This is a matter of serious concern for implementation of child rights in the state, she said.

The challenges cited by CRY mention a lack of coordination between different branches of police in tracing the child.

Instead of lodging an FIR, a Diary entry is made at first. There is lack of effort and support by police, lack of female officers in police stations and information loading and updating is neglected.

CRY today recommended that police should mandatorily file an FIR when a parent approaches with missing complaint and initiate action without delay.

Further, they suggested that Pehchaan drive, which was started by Delhi police, should be revived so that there is regular tracking of children and updation of their photographs and identity.

Police personnel should be trained to do early detection and the police department should have some budget head for assisting victim`s family for tracing out children.