Delhi has maximum number of missing children: NHRC


New Delhi : The capital records the maximum number of cases of missing children, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said Monday and recommended various measures to tackle the crime.

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"In India more than 44,000 children of all ages go missing annually and Delhi has topped the list with 6.7 percent of the total cases. Chandigarh with 5.8 percent is second," an NHRC member P.C. Sharma said here Monday.

He said that out of the 44,000 cases, various agencies managed to trace 33,000 children, while the rest of them remained untraced.

"Delhi Police registered a total of 7,058 such cases in 2005, but it is also an achievement that they managed to trace 80 percent of them," Sharma said while releasing a report on missing children at a press conference.

According to Sharma, Delhi tops the list because a large number of people migrate to the city every year and also because the number of cases reported here are very high as compared to other states.

However, Sharma criticised police for undermining the cases related to missing children.

"In case of missing complaint pertaining to a child, cops are very reluctant to register a first information report (FIR) and are not much keen to investigate the matter," he said.

"Most such cases are generally overlooked by the investigating agencies, they don't take the case seriously like the other criminal cases and such cases are not even supervised by the senior officers."

Sharma said the commission had formulated the report on missing children after taking suo motu cognisance of the Nithari serial killings, in which 20 young girls and women were gruesomely raped and murdered at the Noida residence of businessman Moninder Singh Pandher.

"We have formulated a report in consultations with various ministries, NGOs, Delhi Police and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) and recommendations made in the report will be forwarded to relevant authorities across the states and union territories and the central government so that tracing and restoring missing children back to their families would become an easier task," he said.

The recommendations include setting up a missing person squad in every police station across the country with adequate resources, priority to missing cases, mandatory reporting of such cases to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) within 24 hours and involvement of NGOs and resident welfare associations in police investigations process.