With cops still struggling to crack the case of the young software engineer who went missing from Lokmanya Tilak Termius (LTT) before being brutally killed last month, Government Railway Police (GRP) have disclosed some chilling statistics that seem to point to a deeper crisis at hand.

The figures say that on an average, one person goes missing from the city’s railway premises every day. A total of 365 missing complaints were registered in 2013, and in January this year, 22 missing complaints were reported. A majority of the complaints are filed for minors. Of the 365 who went missing, 188 were found.

Special team formed
According to authorities, the disappearances are from local trains as well as railway premises. The months of November and December recorded the highest number of disappearances from railway premises last year. “Every day we get missing persons complaints from the relatives or the staff. We have a team that works only on the reports relating to missing persons,” said a GRP staff member, who works on the team.

Illustration/Amit Bandre
Illustration/Amit Bandre

Every year, thousands of passengers meet with accidents on the tracks, and since many of them cannot be identified, their names stay on in the missing persons list. “There are accidents happening frequently, after which identification is difficult. After waiting for eight days, the railway police perform the last rites, but the persons remain in the records,” said a railway police official.

According to officials, some of the missing persons are squatters who come from different parts of the country and live in shanties along train tracks. “There are cases when such people die due to illness, starvation or other problems. They remain as unclaimed bodies and sometimes they are bodies of people who have been reported missing by their relatives,” added the official.

Majority are minors
Rajiv Singhal, member of the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), said, “Most of the missing persons are those who come to Mumbai from outside, and have no idea about the city. If they cannot be identified, they remain in the missing persons’ files.

Reports will reveal that most of the complaints filed for missing persons are minors. This is because gangs operate in large numbers and kidnap or misguide the kids, and use them as beggars for their benefit.” He added that the railway police should start crime detection in different ways to catch the culprits.