Bhubaneswar: Sleepless nights, endless tears and the memories of their missing children. Who knows what these families are going through! Seems the only thing that has kept them alive is a rare hope to see their kids back home.
Recalling the past horrors that still haunt many, two incidents from Bolangir district have rubbed salt into the injuries at a time when the State is boiling over the NCRB shocker which claimed thousands of missing children in Odisha are still untraceable.
Six years back, Binod Saraf and his wife Sabitri of Kukudahada village in Bolangir district took their two daughters and son to Ravan Podi Utsav organised at the Kantabanji Jatra. Their elder daughter Swapna, who was 6 then, went missing in the crowd. It has been six long years into the incident that the parents have been running from pillar to post to get back their child but to no avail. The local police are still clueless on Swapna's whereabouts, while the family only has her photos.
"She (Swapna) has been missing since 2014. We kept knocking the doors of Kantabanji police station for several months but failed in the battle to trace our child. The police officials only had assurances with them, every time stating that they are on it, to calm us down. We are still waiting," expressed Swapna's mother.
"We have urged the government to order a Crime Branch probe. All our hopes on the law and justice have failed us," rued a hopeless father.
The situation is no different for the family of Srijit Bhoi from Kantabanji Chaulasukha village in Bolangir. Reportedly, his 12-year-old son Debaraj was last seen in January this year in a ground nearby the village where he had gone to play football. When he did not return home, the family members launched a frantic search but nowhere was he found.
"After he went missing, we lodged an FIR with the police. But our desperate pleas to trace our child have fallen on deaf ears. Police have shown no signs of interest to probe this. We demand a thorough investigation," says Bhoi.
Jogeswar Mohanty, Chairperson of the District Child Welfare Committee, Bolangir said, "Any such incident that comes to our notice is being taken up immediately, and we have asked police to take necessary steps. Complaints are registered but there is no initiation of enquiry which is why so many cases are pending. Even when the Superintendents of Child Care Homes seek details, they do not get any response."
Asked, the district SP reportedly denied commenting on the issues.
Families of Pari, Pihu, Swapna, Debaraj and many other missing children have been shedding tears for months and years but the painful downpour has failed to give them back their children or move the administration to locate them.