In Mumbai, women aged 16-25 top missing list

Written By Unknown on Senin, 30 Juni 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Two women for every man in the 16-25 age group go missing in Mumbai, an RTI query has found. Women in the category also form the largest chunk of missing persons in any age group, male or female. The maximum number of missing men, too, are from the 16-25 age group. The reasons, say experts, are disturbed family life and elopement.

From the start of 2010 till the end of 2013—the period for which the data is available—overall, 21,913 women were reported missing compared to 19,708 men, thus forming more than 52% of missing persons. In the 16-25 age group, 13,415 women were reported missing compared to 6,697 men.

Interestingly, a higher percentage of women are traced—over 80%, compared to about 75% men—and a much lower percentage found dead—0.34%, compared to 1.37% men.

The query was filed by activist Chetan Kothari at the missing persons bureau (MPB) of the police's crime branch last month.

In 2013, the last year for which the data is available, 23% more missing person complaints were registered than in 2012. The number of complaints for 2011 and 2010 were comparable to that for 2012.

"In the case of many youngsters, while parents register missing person complaints, the cases might actually be of eloping. Many youngsters also leave home because of being depressed or because of quarrelling with family members," said Vasant Doble, assistant commissioner of police, MPB. "Among older people, many who suffer from mental ailments, wander away."

One of the reasons why adults go missing is financial crisis, said psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty. "While a family seeks help during such a crisis, letting a counsellor speak to any child at home really helps."

The search for a missing person generally gets less attention than it deserves as missing person cases do not fall under any category of crime, said former Thane police commissioner S P S Yadav. "That's why the Bombay high court has given elaborate guidelines (including the publishing of a missing person's photograph and the declaration of reward) for tracing missing persons."

IPS officer-turned-lawyer YP Singh said that because most missing person cases have a voluntary element, the police become complacent. "But as the Esther Anuhya case showed, a small number of missing person cases involve foul play, such as kidnapping, trafficking and even murder."

Anuhya, a software engineer from Andhra Pradesh, went missing on January 6 after alighting from the train at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. Her alleged murderer posed as a taxi driver and allegedly convinced her to walk out of the platform with him. Anuhya's partly burnt decomposed body was found in the bushes close to a service road on the Eastern Express Highway ten days later. In the case, the crime branch arrested history sheeter Chandrabhan Sanap (35) from Nashik in March.

"The police should react immediately when a missing case is registered and also come out with a tracking system," said RTI activist Chetan Kothari. "Delays by the police in registering cases and then reacting slowly have allowed murders and other serious offences. Even now, several missing person cases remain to be solved."

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