Srinagar: Hardly has any day passed when the family of Mehran has not remembered the three-and-a-half-year-old boy who went missing outside his home 13 years ago.
It is still a mystery how Mehran could just vanish from a place, which is densely populated. “We are broken from inside but we have not lost hope. Someday, he will return. We have a firm belief,” said Shabir Ahmad Kalla, uncle of Mehran.
On May 13, 2008, Mehran went missing just months after he was admitted to Canny Mission School Court Road Srinagar.
The family had filed a missing report with Kral Khud police station on the same day, To date, Mehran remains untraceable despite CBI probing the case.
“We didn’t follow the case in the last few years. We individually went to many places in Kashmir and even New Delhi, but Mehran couldn’t be traced. Now we have left it to God. He will reunite Mehran with his parents,” said Kalla.
Mehran is not an isolated case of missing children in Kashmir. A pall of gloom has descended on a family at Awoora in Kupwara district after eight-year-old Talib Hussain went missing on February 15. Since then the family and local administration are working overtime to trace Talib.
Even a reward of Rs 1 lakh has been announced by the local police and Rs 2 lakh by the former Rajya Sabha member Mir Mohammad Fayaz for giving information about the missing child.
National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data has revealed that 627 children have gone missing in Jammu and Kashmir by 2020. They include 350 boys and 277 girls. In 2020 alone, 230 children including 167 girls and 63 boys went missing in Jammu and Kashmir.
The NCRB data suggested that the recovery rate of the missing children in Jammu and Kashmir is a mere 29.2 percent.
A senior office in Jammu and Kashmir Crime Branch said the department has strengthened its anti-human trafficking units to prevent kidnapping. “Majority of these cases have been reported from Jammu division. Kashmir is witnessing fewer cases of kidnapping or disappearances. Many missing cases have remained unresolved. Now, anti-human trafficking cells have been established at the district level. Besides, local stations too are working hard to solve missing or kidnapping cases,” he said.