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Feb 04, 2013 at 09:08am IST

Over 60,000 children go missing in India every year, activists point at police inaction

New Delhi: In the wake of the brutal Delhi gangrape and massive outpouring of public anger, the Justice Verma Committee was formed to look into amendments in criminal law. But it also highlighted one of the biggest problems of the country - the missing children of India. "A lakh kids go missing every year. The police must file an FIR, DM should maintain records," Justice JS Verma said.

Most missing children are victims of human trafficking and sexual violence, often with police connivance, observed the Justice Verma commission, citing the case of a minor girl who was trafficked from Jharkhand to Delhi, made to work for a year without pay and then trafficked again to Punjab.

Fortunately, the girl was rescued by an NGO, but thousands of children aren't as lucky. Kunwarjit, whose 11-year-old son went missing two years ago said nothing has been done to locate him. "Police hasn't done a thing to find him. I got a call from my son once but the police refused to act on it saying that it was a hoax call. Had they acted then, probably I would've had my son, but now I think I won't see him again," said the missing child's father.

Official records show 53,000 children were reported missing in India in 2010, 59,000 missing in 2011, that is 1 child every 8 minutes. Activists claim the biggest problem is police inaction.

Delhi has the largest number of untraced children as 14 kids go missing from the city every day. Police claim most are cases of children running away willingly, rarely investigating allegations of child trafficking and sexual abuse.

Activist AR Chaurasia said, "The police shuts the case saying that the child ran away and came back on his own. My question is what did the child do for four years? Someone must have employed him, why don't they probe it?"

According to the NCRB 60,000 children go missing every year despite the fact that big states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar, along with Punjab and Jharkhand, did not provide the data for missing children. Perhaps it is time the police take strict actions to ensure no child has to suffer the same misery as her.

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