India's 1.7 lakh missing children, SC raps states

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Child Labour
New Delhi, Jan 18: Figures are shocking. Statistics say that around 1,77,600 children in India went missing between 2009 and 2011, out of which 55,450 are yet to be traced. Finally, Supreme Court has taken note on the issue.

The apex court has instructed the chief secretaries of all the states and Union territories to ask all the police stations to register an FIR and start an investigation in cases of missing children. Most of the NGOs working for child rights allege that police often hesitate to register FIR on missing children. Activists say that police negligence has increased the problem.

The Supreme Court also directed that all police stations should have a special juvenile police officer to deal with the cases of missing children. The apex court's order came in the wake of a PIL filed by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which works for underprivileged children.

The NGO in its PIL stated that over 1.7 lakh children have gone missing in the country between Jan 2008-2010. In the PIL, it was also mentioned that they fear that many of the missing kids were kidnapped for trafficking in flesh trade and child labour.

The petitioner said, "The instances of missing children are highest in Maharashtra followed by West Bengal, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The number of untraced missing children is highest in West Bengal followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh."

The apex court has also ordered the chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa to be present in court on Feb 5. The chief secretaries of West Bengal and Karnataka got an exemption after their respective counsels pleaded miscommunication.

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