120 vanish without a trace every month  

It’s been more than eight months since 32-year-old techie Kumar Ajitabh went missing. Police have not been able to trace him, or even tell his family whether he is dead or alive. He went out to sell his car, after advertising it online, and hasn’t been seen since.

This is not a stray case. According to the Bangalore Missing Persons Bureau run by the police, about 400 people go missing from Bengaluru every month.

While about 280 are found, not much is known of the remaining 120. They go missing without a trace; they could be lost, kidnapped, or even murdered. Some are victims of trafficking. Girls and women are a majority among those reported missing.

According to police statistics, they accounted for 2,940 of all missing cases in 2016, as against and 2,150 men. In 2017, the number rose to 3,028 women and 2,103 men. This year (till July 19, 2018) 1,723 women and 1,090 men have been reported missing.

City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar says about 70 per cent of all cases are cracked.

“When a girl goes missing even for a day, parents immediately register a complaint. In the case of boys, parents wait a day longer,” he says.Teens, especially those between 15 and 17, go missing after they skip school or college. Some go on trips with their friends without the consent of their parents, carried away by stories they hear and films they watch.

In some instances, children run away fearing punishment from parents for poor academic performance.

Peer pressure, dissatisfaction in jobs, failure in postgraduate and competitive exams, and failed relationships prompt those between 20 to 35 years to leave home. The pattern in older people (above 50 years) are neglect and ill-treatment by children and loss of memory from Alzheimer’s disease.

Saraswati B S, senior counsellor with Parihara Vanitha Sahayavani, says, “Most cases we get are about women who are in live-in relationships without family consent, women in extra-marital affairs, and women with fierce sibling rivalry.” Those facing domestic violence suffer in silence till they reach a point of no return and leave, she says.

What cops do

Alert all police stations across the state.

Share photos and physical characteristics.

Alert police at railway stations and bus stands.

Track mobile phones and trace movement.

Check transactions at ATM kiosks.

Monitor emails and social media sites.

Talk to friends and relatives for clues.

 

Why they leave home

Children: Poor performance in exams, academic pressure, dreams of a carefree life, trips with friends.

Teen girls: Love affairs, poor academic performance, dreams of glamorous careers.

Women: Extreme parental control, marriage without parental consent, extra-marital affairs, frustration in relationships, domestic violence.

Men: Failed relationships, frustration at work, inability to cope with pressure.

 

Some are killed

Some people reported missing are murdered over personal and business rivalry, money disputes, and illicit relationships.

 

Recent cases

A 15-year-old boy went missing from Whitefield last week. His body was found in a pond in Udupi. A ticket in his pocket revealed he had taken a bus.

On July 22, a 22-year-old woman ran away from home when her parents scolded her.

Soon after Nagaraj (70) and his wife (64) went missing in late July, police registered a complaint. They said they had been treated badly by their children.

Incompatibility in marriage prompted a 31-year-old techie to move out and take up another house. His wife filed a complaint, even though she knew where he was staying. Her idea was to harass and defame him, he said.

A 40-year-old man went missing for a month. He was in an unhappy marriage and had moved in with another woman.

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120 vanish without a trace every month  

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