Probe into the abduction of three children is far from satisfactory, writes Marri Ramu

Never be indifferent to cases of missing persons, especially children. That was the lesson police learnt after the Nithari serial killings came to light.

Recently, three boys were abducted in Hyderabad. It is believed that a woman had abducted these children to sell them to issueless couples. And what about the thousands of children going missing in the city every year? Is the same woman responsible for some of the cases?

There is a thin line between a case of kidnap and that of a missing person. If a child is seen being taken away by a stranger, a case of kidnap is registered. In the absence of such evidence, it becomes a case of missing child. In the past three years, 4,651 children went missing from city and surrounding areas. Of them, 1,990 had not been traced so far. There are no persistent efforts to find them either. The police say they don't have evidence to link the woman suspect or similar offenders to the cases of untraced children.

The slow pace of investigation into the three abductions will only embolden the abductor. While suspicions centred on possibility of sale of kids, little efforts were made to probe into this angle. It took more than a week for the ISO-certified Madhapur police to collect details of adoption centres, the possible places where the woman could have left the boys.

Neither could they alert airports about the kids being flown abroad by foreigners in the name of adoption. Entire search operations are focussed on western part of the city since the suspect struck there thrice. What if she turns up at other parts of the city and walks away with another child? If these points are overlooked, it will only help the woman slip the police dragnet. More importantly, whatever little clues are available to trace the children will be lost forever.