Still Searching

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By M.C. Linthoingambee

Nobody can quite fathom the pain of a parent searching for their missing children. How many of these children gets found? A countless number of children go missing every year. Where do these children end up? That`s a simple question that lies like a Pandora Box. There is countless number of problems as to why these children do go missing categorizing to the acts of abduction, kidnapping, trafficking, forced to run from family and surrounding problems and so forth while some just get lost in the wilderness of the mist that is often hard to unravel.

In 2005, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) informed that on an average 44000 children are often reported missing every year of which, some 11,000 still remain untraced. Surveying an exact number is not possible as some of these cases still go unreported with the police or other authorities either due to lack of information or awareness or they simply end up not knowing where to go for help. On March 10, 2013 *Al Jajeera* did a report signifying on the statement that, “*India faces epidemic of missing children*” whilst stating that about 60,000 children go missing every year in populous nations, and child activists say, many end up in sex trade. There is indeed a question of survival when these children end up facing the realms of torture, exploitation and abuse in the consequences of slave trade, selling of body organs and even grotesque cannibalism as reported at Nithari village in Noida. Even the law enforcement agencies are often confused with the order of things because of the absence of any technical and monitoring mechanism which help with the whereabouts of the missing person. In many cases, even FIR (First Information Report) is not even registered, and the risk of the matter and its facts are only recorded in the General Station Diary of the concerned police station. But in the cause of setting things right, up recently after a huge long gap from enactments the Supreme Court has forgone with the implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act making it mandatory for states to provide Special Juvenile Police officer (SJPO) in every police station. In addition, it has also been said that each state should have a Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU), comprising personnel specially trained and oriented for child related offences in every district and each missing child report must be converted into FIRs as told by the court order. Even with the decision of the Apex Court, little is placed in real action.

“The recent report of Civil Society on Human Rights in Manipur records 98 children being killed in fake encounters by security forces in Manipur from 1979 to May 2012. According to National Crime Records Bureau, 5 children were murdered and 30 raped in Manipur in 2010 and 2011,” as taken from a reliable source. This list is not exhaustive but an estimate of what really happens. A recent trend that is currently in currently in order wherein the various militant organizations kidnaps and captures children mainly for the sake of adjoining them to their circle and relying on them to follow with their stronghold. An ordinary citizen is often stuck within the clutch of the overruling authorities and fear of the militants. In the northeastern states, matters are even worse as the number of missing children increases abiding by the cause of underground members recruiting them under their wing by adhering to the nature of abduction and kidnapping. On a study tour in Moreh recently, college going students from Biramangol College have also been abducted by suspected militants  in the border town where the International border to Myanmar lie, while the family member still remained in shock with these turn of events hoping for a safe return.

Limiting on the chronology, a father is still keeping his fingers crossed for his daughter. The disappearance of a hearing and speech impaired child, L Surmila has left a father L. Amuthoi seeking aid and relief even from the UN agencies and other concerned of tracing back his 10 year old child.

The world we live in is scary; it is easier to stay at home than to walk alone in the streets. A place where a child cannot play in peace but has to hear the true words of tragedies that either go noticed or hidden and safely tucked away out of fear. The hunting spree of a person associated with the events stated above and related thereto should be put behind bars if we are really to uphold the principles of Natural Justice that we so willfully concur. The basic structure embeds the formulation of certain fundamental rights wherein right to life is the most important. If measures are not taken now we can only put our efforts to seeing more children fall into this trap. When will that day come where a child can smile away without having to care?

Childhood is a kingdom where the memory often races beyond great horizons and it is our duty to see that it happens. If not now, then when? Every child is special in their own unique way. And thus, appropriating the cause of ensuring their safety, relief, etc should be made a common goal. I pray for every parent who is hoping for a return hoping that it shall come true someday.

(M.C. Linthoingambee is an undergraduate pursuing B.Com. LL.B(H). An avid blogger, poet, a seasonal artist and a foodie, she is also a life member to the Indian Society of the Red Cross.)

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