Image used for representational purpose
Image used for representational purpose(Photo | Express Illustration)

IIM-Indore study links aggressive parenting, abusive relationship to rising minor disappearances in Indore's slums

43% girls not willing to stay with parents/guardians even after recovery and 39% showed no remorse about their disappearance after getting tracked by cops

BHOPAL: The cases of missing teenagers, particularly girls aged between 13 and 17 years, has increased in urban slums in India’s cleanest city Indore.

A first-of-its-kind study by the Indian Institute of Management (IIM-Indore) in association with Indore police has thrown up some alarming findings about the missing children in Indore – which acquires the dubious distinction of reporting maximum cases of missing minors in Madhya Pradesh.

The study’s findings released by the IIM-I and Indore Police on Saturday reveal that the urban slums in the communally sensitive Chandan Nagar and Azad Nagar areas, Lasudiya (being home to mushrooming residential townships), Bhawarkuan (famous as hub of private colleges-universities-coachings-hostels) and Dwarkapuri areas could emerge as Indore’s top five high-risk locations for cases of missing minors, particularly girls.

The research based on archival analysis of the last five years, case diaries of 79 cases of missing minors, interviews with 17 investigating officers and in-depth case studies of victims revealed that most cases of missing minors pertained to girls aged between 13 and 17 years and belonging to lower socio-economic strata (families of labourers and semi-skilled workers).

The report further states that in 68.4% of cases, the missing minors (teenagers) belonged to nuclear families and went missing particularly due to push factors, like aggressive parenting, abusive relationships or forced child marriage (in the case of orphans).

Around 43% of missing girls chose not to stay with parents/guardians or were even shunned away by parents/local guardians after their recovery by the police. Also, 39.2% of victims in the 79 cases had no regret at the time of recovery and police officers' observations suggested that around 80% of minors felt they did nothing by running away with the accused who were mostly aged between 18 and 23 years and were actually neighbours or relatives of the missing minors (particularly girls).

Conducted over six months by a 5-strong IIM-I team headed by the institute’s director Prof Himanshu Rai and also including Naveen Krishna Rai (manager), associate professor Shruti Tiwari and assistant professor Shivani Sharma, the study further revealed that the sexual and physical assault, intent of marriage and love affairs were the prime motives of offenders behind luring away the minor/teenage girls.

Importantly, as per the NCRB statistics, more than 75% of children who went missing from Madhya Pradesh in 2022, were girls. Since 2019, Indore has reported the highest number of cases of missing minors in MP. Number of missing girls reported in Indore was three times more than cases of missing boys in 2022.

The study is the result of a MoU signed between IIM-I and the Indore Police Commission in July 2023. The first-of-its-kind partnership between a B-School and City Police, aimed to analyze demographic and geographic trends-patterns of cases of missing minors in Indore over the last five years, to probe antecedent factors in terms of psycho-social triggers contributing to the disappearance of minors, to develop recommendations for post-recovery interventions and design an information, education and communication (IEC) training module for the cops with a target of reducing the incidence of such cases in Indore.

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