Status of 71 Chitwan kids remain unknown

- BIMAL KHATIWADA, Chitwan

Nov 5, 2014-

After the mysterious disappearance of 13-year-old Roshit Thapa, the youngest son of Kalpana Thapa of Bachaulli-3, since Friday evening, the whole family remains in a state of shock. Roshit had reportedly gone missing after having the evening meal with his family. Kalpana, who has not been able to let go of his son’s photo and is in tears ever since, said that when she returned from her sister’s house where she had gone to briefly after dinner she found his son had disappeared without a trace.

Meanwhile, Roshit’s family claims that the boy might have been kidnapped, but as no individual or group have demanded any ransom for the boy’s release, Roshit’s current whereabouts and condition remain unknown. Even the desperate search conducted by the missing boy’s family in the bordering areas including Birgunj, Bhairahawa, and Butwal, has proved to be a futile exercise. However, this is not just a one-off case, as over the past few years the district has witnessed a dramatic surge in the number of children going missing under mysterious circumstances.

According to police statistics, 83 girls and 25 boys have been reported missing since the beginning of the fiscal year 2013/14 in the district. While police have managed to rescue 11 boys and 31 girls from the clutches of their captors, the whereabouts of 52 girls and 14 boys still remain unknown. Hence, a total of 71 children remain missing under mysterious circumstances since the past 16 months in the district. Police said that most of the missing comprised of girls and children under the age of 10. Meanwhile, the alarming rate of disappearances has left the residents of the district in a state of shock.

“Of late, the number of girl child going missing is comparatively higher than boys,” said Mina Kharel, an activist working in the field of child welfare. Kharel also said that peer pressure coupled with the ignorance of parents about their children’s mental state also cause some children to run away from their house. Stating that the most the children who go missing are victims of human trafficking, Kharel said that a concerted effort by the parents as well as the government is needed to curb such incidents.

“After observing these tragic incidents, we found that negligence on the part of the parents was a major factor contributing to the disappearance of the kids,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Shanti Raj Koirala, adding that a bit of restraint by parents could play a pivotal role in minimising such incidents.

Published: 06-11-2014 09:04

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