More than 11,000 people get lost in Mumbai every year, reveal police statistics, and around 20% of them are never found.
The figures thrown up by government officials are alarming. The fact that more than 2,000 people never get back home every year means that each day around six Mumbaikars are lost to their families and friends for ever.
An overwhelming majority—about two-thirds—of the people who go missing in Mumbai are, surprisingly, adults. Sociologists who deal with the problem say most of the people who leave home do so because of some strained relationship within the family or because they are mentally unstable; this accounts for so many adults in the missing population.
Figures for 2007 show 11,168 people went missing in 2007 and 9,055 (some went missing before 2007) came back. And, of the 11,168 men, women and children who went missing last year, Bada Kabrastan alone received around 1,100 unclaimed bodies that seemed to have belonged to Muslims.
Rights experts allege that cops rarely make an effort to tie up a missing-person information with an unclaimed body. But senior police officials say the fact that an overwhelming majority of people ultimately come back to their families shows that the force is doing its job properly.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Rakesh Maria said it was extremely difficult to trace people who left home on their own. “Some may leave home after a fight in the family, children often sulk and go missing if they are scolded and elopement of girls and boys in love is a frequent occurrence. All these cases are extremely difficult to trace,” he added.
The Missing Persons’ Bureau (MBP) recently started sending e-mail messages, with details of missing persons, to other investigating agencies in the state and outside so that missing people could be traced faster, officials added.
But sociologists say police can claim credit for very few of the lost-and-found cases. “It is mostly a network of family and friends or voluntary group or good Samaritans who are responsible for reunions,” a sociologist said. var RN = new String (Math.random()); var RNS = RN.substring (2,11); var b2 = ‘ ‘; if (doweshowbellyad==1) bellyad.innerHTML = b2;