India’s top court summons two police chiefs over missing children


NEW DELHI–India’s top court on Thursday summoned the police chiefs of two states to justify their record on tracking down missing children, acting on a petition from new Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s child rights group. Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save Childhood Movement) filed the petition before the Supreme Court which had last year set deadlines for Indian states to file status reports on missing children. On Thursday, the court ordered the chief secretaries and heads of police in Bihar and Chhattisgarh �X the two states with some of the worst records on child trafficking �X to appear before it on Oct. 30. The court said it wanted to ask chief secretaries and police commissioners ��how will they feel if their children go missing?�� Critics say police often turn a blind eye to the thousands of children who are trafficked and forced into slavery or exploitative labor every year across the country. Research by Satyarthi’s group suggests that a child goes missing every six minutes in India and over a 100,000 children go missing each year. ��The court was not pleased with their (states’) response,�� Bhuwan Ribhu, an activist and lawyer with Bachpan Bachao Andolan, told AFP. ��The court has taken a very strict view. They said they will take up this matter every week if needed and see what action has been taken, two states at a time,�� he said Satyarthi, 60, was on Friday jointly awarded the Nobel Prize with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage education campaigner shot by the Taliban in 2012. The Indian activist, who argues that poverty should not be an excuse for child labor, was recognized for decades of doggedly championing children’s rights in his home country and worldwide. India’s mega cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are a particular target for criminal gangs that police say traffic children in much the same way they sell drugs. Most of these children end up as construction or domestic workers. Others take up rag picking, agricultural work and in industries such as fireworks, tobacco and carpet weaving.