In girl-missing cases, the family members are at their wit’s end, says S. Vijay Kumar

What will parents of a girl do if she does not return home from college? Frantically search for her in the locality; check with her friends; call relatives and as a last resort …lodge a complaint with the police. What follows is the ordeal of sleepless nights coupled with delicate questions raised by neighbours, relatives and investigators. The family members of girls who suddenly vanish from home have hardly any option but to keep their fingers crossed, answer unpleasant queries and hope for the best to happen.

The city and district police are investigating a handful of ‘girl- missing’ cases. Though the general suspicion is that the girls might have eloped with boyfriends, the apprehension of parents is beyond that. For instance, when a girl went missing a few weeks ago, her parents initially thought it could have been a case of road accident and searched hospitals. They also feared that she might have been abducted or murdered for gain.

While investigation by the police could not yield any results, the parents of the girl maintained that she never had any friendship with boys, ruling out possibilities of elopement. Weeks later, the girl called to inform her parents that she got married. However, she did not give any clue as to who her husband was and where they were staying. As a regular mobile phone conversation between the girl and her parents is on, police are trying to locate the couple.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order), R. Ramrajan, who held a meeting of police officials in the city on Friday, emphasised the need to expedite investigation in man/woman missing cases. “The law provides for a major to choose his/her own life partner. If the missing girl is a minor, we can straightaway register a case of kidnapping and take firm action,” he said.

“Monitor closely”

According to Mr. Ramrajan, in many cases parents had a tendency to suppress facts. “Parents should closely monitor the activities of adolescent children. They should ensure that their wards are in the company of good friends. Mobile phones play a vital role in a majority of cases where girls elope. Providing electronic gadgets such as laptop and mobile phone should be need-based.”

Schools/colleges should introduce yoga and meditation classes as they could help in stress management and bring about a positive attitude and approach among students. “We can understand the agony of parents whose wards go missing. At the same time, the children should also realise how their parents would suffer facing the society if they let them down,” Mr. Ramrajan added.