Shankar Bennur

31 girls and 55 boys reported missing between January 1 and April 30 in Mysore city

Missing persons investigation squads constituted in police stations

Children who go missing are normally in the

14 to 16 age group

MYSORE: Fear of examination, high expectations from parents , workload in class and tuitions are among the major reasons that lead to children running away from their homes in Mysore city.

What is disturbing is that the number of children aged below 18 who are reported missing is increasing every year.

With the rise in missing person cases, the city police recently constituted “missing persons investigation squads” in each police station limits.

Each squad consists of an assistant sub-inspector, a head constable, a woman head constable and a police constable.

The children who go missing are normally in the 14 to 16 age group.

Statistics

The figures given by the City Crime Records Bureau (CCRB) of the city police, which was earlier investigating the missing person cases, reveal that 31 girls and 55 boys were reported missing in a span of four months — between January 1 and April 30, 2010. The police have managed to trace 17 girls and 23 boys so far.

“The missing person cases are usually high between January and May, and the reason, based on the statements collected from the children traced, is largely because of fear of examination, high expectations and failure in exams. However, there are some elopement cases also, ” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Traffic) Rajendra Prasad.

Speaking to The Hindu, he expressed concern that cases of missing children were on the rise.

In some cases, the children return home after some time. On most occasions, these cases are not brought to the notice of police and the parents try to locate their children on their own.

“If the missing person is a minor, we consider it as a kidnapping case and investigate it on priority. Sometimes, parents, in elopement cases, do not inform us after the children are traced to avoid public attention,” Mr. Prasad said.

Investigation process

Investigations into missing person complaints are conducted according to the recommendations of the Supreme Court and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and police procedures. “Sincere efforts are made to trace the missing children as per standing operating procedure (SOP). Booklets containing the procedures to be followed in the investigation of missing cases have been distributed to all police stations. The recommendations of the apex court and the NHRC are included in them,” Mr. Prasad said.

Investigation in the cases is stepped up every week based on the progress made. Information is published in newspapers with the photograph of the missing person.

The parents' consent is taken before the publication of the child's photograph if he or she is a minor. However, it is not just children who are reported missing from Mysore.

CCRB records show that in the same period between January and April, 47 men went missing of which 22 were traced. Likewise, of the 67 women who went missing, 25 were traced.

Many missing persons were either found murdered or dead under mysterious circumstances, or had lost their lives in road accidents.

Also, many missing persons migrated to Mumbai.

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