Tracing missing children is one of the prominent challenges before the Delhi. In recent times, the police have paid special attention to trace missing children with the Commissioner announcing out-of-turn promotion to policemen who trace and recover missing children.
But why do children in various age groups under 18 years of age go missing?
A careful analysis of the above question has led to the discovery of a few important reasons why children go missing in the capital.
One of the prominent reasons includes ‘losing way’ that means many children go missing after they lose their way back home. In the recent past, many children were reunited with their parents after they lost way, and were found stranded at locations either near their house or at a distant place in the city.
The second most important factor is ‘academic pressure’. Many children are unable to cope up with the academic pressure in schools and run away from their house.
Sometimes, the strict nature of the parents regarding their annual performance at school makes them vulnerable to run away.
The third reason is ‘getting scolded by parents’. This again is a major factor as many children leave home after they do something for which they think they would be taken to task by their parents. Unable to cope, they leave home.
‘Elopement’ is another major cause for the children in their late teens but below 18 years to go missing. Many children were traced by the police after they eloped for a wide variety of reasons including marriage.
The fifth reason is children running away on their own. This also has multiple factors associated with it depending upon the state of mind of the child and his or her capability of dealing with the given circumstances.
Family circumstances form another big reaons for children to go missing from their homes.
A careful study of missing children in various age groups has revealed that a total of 328 children under the age of 8 years went missing in 2020 which included 186 male children and 142 females. However, a total of 226 were traced by Delhi police.
Under the age of 8 years to 12 years, a total of 385 children went missing in 2020 which included 249 males and 136 females. The police managed to trace 308 children in this category.
Now upto 12 years to 18 years, a total of 3,584 children went missing in 2020 out of which 737 were males and 2,847 were females. In this category, a total of 2,723 children were traced by Delhi Police.
In order to motivate the police personnel to trace or recover the children, who have gone missing from their home, S.N. Shrivastava, Delhi Police Commissioner has issued an incentive scheme on 5th August 2020 to the effect that “Any Constable or Head Constable who recovers 50 or more missing children below the age of 14 years (15 children out of them of the age group less than 8 years) within a period of 12 calendar months will be considered for the grant of out of turn promotion”.
Further, those who trace more than 15 children in the same period shall be given ‘Asadharan Karya Puraskar’. This order has brought a sea change in tracing or recovery of missing children and more and more children have been traced since August’ 2020.
“Two including one woman personnel were granted out of turn promotion and seven have been awarded ‘Asadharan Karya Puraskar’ in this scheme. A total of 2,027 children were traced after August 6, 2020 whereas 1,968 children were reported missing during the same period. Recovery percentage soared to 103 per cent,” said a senior police officer.
The officer also added that 4,052 children were traced during 2020 includes 895 children of previous years and outside Delhi.
(Zafar Abbas could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org )