Shelter – an address for the missing

Mahabub Alam

14 February, 2020 12:00 AM printer

There is no shelter in Dhaka for the elderly people or children who get lost and taken to have gone missing leading to a long separation from their anguished families.

A shelter can become the address for these people and easier for their families to find them quickly, experts said.

The Women Support and Investigation Division (WSID) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) received missing old women, girls and boys upto eight years.

But there is no shelter in the capital for missing elderly people, minors  and even autistic children above 8 years.

Experts think the city needs a shelter centre urgently with all facilities for the missing people.

Rongmala, 80, who hardly knew anybody, went missing after she went out of her residence at Lalbagh in the capital on November 21 last year.

Her son-in-law Emon Ahmed told the daily sun that his family had left no stone unturned to track her, but failed.

Mentally frustrated Saima Akhter, 35, an office assistant of Administration Section of Mitford Hospital, remained missing after she left her residence at Begum Bazar in Chawk Bazar on September 2, 2019.

However, police rescued 2,109 missing female of different ages and infant to minor boys and handed over to WSID in the last 11 years from 2009 to 2019.

The WSID’s Victim Support Centre (VSC) kept and cared them for six more days. Later, the VSC handed many of them to their families or relatives while rest rescued were handed over to 11 NGOs for taking them care as their .

The NGOs are Ain O Shalish Kendra, Society of the Deaf & Sign Language Users, Association for Correction and Social Reclamation, Aparajeyo Banglades,  Acid Survivors Foundation, Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers’ Association, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and Marie stopes.

Hamida Parvin, deputy commissioner of DMP and chief of the WSID, told the daily sun that the NGOs generally do not want to take old women and infants.

The NGOs receive teen females cordially and train them in various work, she said.

“It is very difficult for old men as the VSC and NGOs do not receive them,” he said.

Dr Mohammad Mainul Islam, professor at Population Science Department of Dhaka University, told the daily sun that the city corporations can set up a cell where the missing people would be kept.

The missing people should be kept separately as per gender and ages and they should be taken care of properly for a time until they can be returned to their families, he went on to say.

Besides, the government and NGOs should have an association for the missing people.

Public awareness should be strengthened, he thinks. He suggests mass media to carry out campaigns about the missing people so that their families can find them.

When contacted, Mohammad Jainul Bari, secretary of Ministry of Social Welfare, told the daily sun on Monday that the ministry has a shelter in nearby Gazipur district to keep . On such a shelter in Dhaka, Bari said “We will look into the matter.”