Thursday, 7 February 2013

Lost childhoods

Many children get lost in the crowds and are never found. They never return to their homes. Missing children have very very hard lives, they become child labourers or beggars; later on they resort to crime. Many times they are victims of crime.Last year alone 71,000 children were lost and search is still on.On August 10, 2012 Supreme Court had issued notices to state and central government that this is the most urgent matter; and that these missing children are small and cannot express their own plight, they should be heard.40% of the reported missing children are never found. Not all missing children are reported;when little boys are lost, it is reported immediately. If girls are missing, there are very few who report it; taking care of girl children is held as a burden in patriarchy.Missing child is lowest in the priority for a big family. Most important aspect of the missing children is that these children are from poor families.There is lesser response from the police. Children are from vulnerable background.Police should not ignore it;it is compulsory to register it;FIR is made.There is no law on how to deal with missing children. This is the biggest hurdle.So the law is missing is the case of the missing children.Missing children have not been defined in any law in India.
Missing children do not go missing in jungle or from a rural place, they are lost amid well connected urban areas with good road networks and railways.States in border have more children missing than others. And they are never traced or found.Mafia of eunuchs recruit them many times.
There is computer linkage among all police stations in India, by which photos of missing children are displayed and constantly updated. Ministry for Women and child Development has has "child tracking" project which traces children in 14 states in which it was made available.  Where there is child tracking applications available tracing the missing child becomes easy. In those states where this is used, missing children have been restored 30% more cases(90% rescued instead of 60%).The "Bachpan Bacho Andolan" as voice to the plight of missing children had made a PIL and had asked "why are these children missing?". Every day 14 children are lost in New Delhi alone. They end up as servants or child slaves. They are treated cruelly and they are deprived of basic needs. The issue of missing children overlaps with human trafficking. Children grow up "missing" living in the streets and never have had a home, they never have had a childhood; they end up as criminals or as victims of crime. Victims becomes criminals when they grow up.This  is very sad.Some times gangs are involved in kidnapping children.Girl children are used as domestic servants and sold for profits.Then the cases becomes bigger and CBI has to deal with them. When families look for their missing children, then there is hope. But these children are from poor families who cannot support them, so they do not look for them.Many come from border countries as refugees.We can give 'right to education' to a child but can we allow it to languish in the streets,? We have only guaranteed them right to perish in the streets.To see a poor child alone in the streets is most the depressing sight. A human child is too precious to be wasted away.Government has to make more juvenile homes and teach vocational skills to these children.Till they are adults they could be given a small pension.If we do not spend on them now, we may have to pay dearly when they grow up. Rehabilitation is most needed.As adults they must become good citizens as they too are the future people of India. In the future they will be asking us "what did you do for us then(in 2013). And we will have no answer.....  

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