There’s an alarming increase in the number of missing people in Mumbai.
Recently, dna reported about builder Nikhil Jhaveri and interior designer Sudhir Yelunkar, husband of a constable attached to the MHB Colony police, remaining untraceable since they went missing three months ago.
According to the Mumbai police, 30 people go missing in the city a day.
Every year, the police receive about 11,000 missing complaints. While this number has decreased from 11,285 in 2012 to 10,954 in 2013, the number of untraced people has gone up drastically from 1,451 in 2012 to 3,804 in 2013.
Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime), said: “Mostly, we receive a missing complaint many days after a person goes missing, as family or friends do their own private hunt for a few days. This makes it tougher to trace them. In case of children and women, there are many trafficking, begging and kidnapping rackets that have flourished. Cracking these large rackets and searching for missing persons, especially children and girls, is a huge challenge.”
Sometimes, even if relatives trace the person, they do not inform the police. “Therefore, in records, the person is still untraced,” added Roy.
The police attributes difficulty in tracing missing persons to factors like lack of infrastructure, search mechanism and manpower shortage.
Co-ordination with other law enforcement agencies, police stations from across the state, various agencies such as NGOs, child welfare agencies and other organisations are among the other agencies.
A large number of adults wander off voluntarily. “In the case of many youngsters, while parents register missing complaints, they might actually be cases of eloping. Besides, there are cases of youngsters getting depressed, quarrelling with family and leaving homes. There are also cases where older people, suffering from physical or mental illness, wander off unknowingly.
“Our idea is to track the person in a week. If it converts to rape or murder, the case takes a different turn,” added Roy.
“The number of missing person’s complaint that we receive on a daily basis is enormous and it’s important we have a structured mechanism to ensure every complaint is taken seriously,” said ACP Vasant Dhoble, who recently took charge of the Missing Persons Bureau of the Crime Branch.
“The circumstances under which people go missing differ on a case-to-case basis. Therefore, in each case, we have to do a thorough background check, speak to family and friends and also understand the circumstances under which people went missing.
“All this requires more structure, better investigation mechanism, training and co-ordination,” added Dhoble.