On November 6, the media in Kerala widely reported that six women, including school students, went missing from Thrissur district in a period of 24 hours. Hours later, it was reported that those who had gone missing were found. However, with the period they were reported missing and found, most of the news reports claimed that these were peculiar cases and that it had a possible connection with each other. Reports also claimed that the district police were on alert following the incident.
However, a fact check by TNM revealed that the cases did not have any connection with each other. The investigation officers also told TNM that the reports circulating were media hyperbole and that was nothing peculiar about the incidents.
All six cases were registered at various police stations in Thrissur district â€” Wadakkancherry, Pudukkad, Mala, Pavaratty, Chalakudy and Ayyanthole. Investigation officers told TNM that in four out of six incidents, women had left their houses of their own accord, while two cases were that of school students, under 18 years of age.
The 23-year-old woman, who was found missing from Wadakkancherry, got married recently. â€śShe left her house to be with her husband. They are living in Kasaragod. The missing complaint was filed by her parents,â€ť an official at Wadakkancherry police station told TNM.
In the case of women who went missing from Mala, Pavaratty and Chalakudy, all of them had left their houses to live with their partners, of their own accord. Though the incidents happened in the same district, it was found that none of the cases was related. â€śSuch missing cases get registered very often, but we donâ€™t know how it caught unnecessary media attention,â€ť one of the investigation officers told TNM.
Meanwhile, the police traced the school students who went missing from Pudukkad and Ayyanthole in Thrissur; one was found in Kollam district and the other from her family house itself.
Such unnecessary media intervention in such cases is not uncommon in Kerala. In most of the cases, a proper fact check will reveal that the facts might not be what has been reported in the media.
Meanwhile, it has to be stated that the efficiency of Kerala police in finding people in missing cases is commendable when compared to other states. Between the years 2011 and 2017, about 7,285 children went missing in the state. Of this, only 168 children are yet to be found by the Kerala police, which means that, the recovery rate is 88 percent.