Other States

‘Most missing girls had love affairs’

Hand in hand:  Women legislators in a show of strength outside the Bihar Assembly  .

Hand in hand: Women legislators in a show of strength outside the Bihar Assembly .

Over 3,000 girls went missing from Bihar in 2016, and in over half the cases — 1,587 to be exact — “love affairs” are said to be the reason.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 3,037 girls went missing from different parts of Bihar, which occupies the eleventh position among States in crimes committed against women.

According to the police, 168 children have gone missing in the past year from just four districts in the border areas.

Katihar district alone reported 81 missing cases of children — 30 boys and 51 girls — followed by Kishanganj with 32, Purnia (29) and Araria (26).

A non-government organisation report said 2,674 missing cases of children were registered in Bihar from January 2013 to January 2014.

On Monday in the State Assembly, senior BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav asked the government how 656 children had gone missing from Patna alone last year. He wanted to know what steps the government had taken to tackle this.

Of those who went missing “443 were later found”, Minister in-charge of Home department, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, informed the Assembly. The Minister assured the Assembly that all necessary action was being taken. “A nodal officer has been deputed in all police stations to act swiftly as soon as information about a missing child is received ... a special campaign will also be launched soon.”

In many cases, Mr. Yadav added, the missing children had grown up and were capable of raising an alarm if they were forcibly taken away. “It shows that they may have disappeared for personal reasons.”

However, several activists and academics working to prevent human trafficking told The Hindu that “organised crime” could also be a factor behind the problem.

Lured by traffickers

“Bihar is a poor State and the border districts are among the poorest of all… children, mostly girls, go missing from these districts, lured by promises of marriages by those involved in human trafficking,” Shilpi Singh, who runs the non-profit organisation, ‘Bhoomika Vihar’ at Katihar, told The Hindu . She also disagreed with the police’s theory of “love affair.” “If most of the girls elope due to love affairs, they should come back after marriage or their whereabouts will be known. But that hardly happens.”

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2022 10:54:16 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/most-missing-girls-had-love-affairs/article17689368.ece