During the last five years more than 26,000 girls and women went missing from Mumbai alone, out of which 24,444 were found and 2,264 are yet to be traced, revealed the Maharashtra government data.
The data was produced by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in a written reply while replying to a query by Congress lawmakers in the Legislative Assembly.
The monsoon session of the state legislature is currently underway in Nagpur, the second capital of Maharashtra.
“(A total of) 26,708 women, including 5056 minor girls, had gone missing from 2013-17, out of which 24,444 were found. However, 2,264 of them are yet to be traced,” stated Fadnavis, who also holds the Home portfolio.
Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and other Congress leaders had sought to know the number of missing women and girls.
Fadnavis said 4758 of 5056 girls who had gone missing had been found.
Among the 26,708 women who had gone missing, 21,652 women were above 18 years, of which 19,686 have been found.
The figures exhibit a rising number of minor girls going missing since 2015, while there has been a consistent rise of women, over 18 years of age, going missing since 2013.
The Chief Minister clarified that as per the Supreme Court (SC) directives given in May 2013, all missing complaints regarding minors should be registered as kidnapping and not missing. Hence the data shows an increasing trend.
Fadnavis said in the case of minors, a total of three offences had been registered in city police stations for kidnapping with intent to make children beg for money. Out of those, two accused have been convicted while one was acquitted.
In the case of women over 18 years of age, 11 offences were registered for using women to perform immoral acts, out of which 10 are sub-judice, as per the data.
The data was tabled in the House on July 10.
When asked to comment, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde (NCP) alleged that Fadnavis was not doing justice to the Home portfolio.
He demanded appointment of a “full-time” Home minister to effectively tackle the “rising crime against women and deteriorating law and order”.
“We have been demanding a full-time Home Minister for the last four years. The chief minister remains busy with his party activities most of the time and is making some announcement or the other in remaining time. In the process, issues like the law and order, safety of women etc have taken a backseat,” Munde alleged.
He said the common people and farmers are suffering due to “bad policies” of the government which is “busy with show-business”.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Ranjit Patil conceded that over 3000 people, missing for the last two years, were yet to be found.
Replying to a Calling Attention motion on missing persons moved by Shiv Sena’s Sunil Prabhu, he had also said that all necessary measures were being taken by the government and the police.
The government had also accepted Mr Prabhu’s demand for installation of CCTV cameras in all slum areas.
BJP legislator Bharti Lavhekar had suggested that the minor girls be made aware of the mindsets of the people who are indulged in kidnapping, on the lines of “good touch and bad touch” awareness programme of the Home department.