He ran away from the exam, spent many days in the train… Children going missing after suicide in Kota are becoming a cause of concern

What is Kota city of Rajasthan known for? Perhaps for the ‘best coaching’ institutes or for the increasing suicide graph of the children studying in these institutes? The number of students who committed suicide in Kota city was 23 in the year 2023 and this number was the highest in a year after 2015.

There has been a lot of discussion on the increasing number of suicide cases, but the process of losing the lives of these young students continues. The question remains, why?

While you, I, our government and all of us are busy finding answers to this question, another problem has started affecting Kota. This problem is related to the disappearance of students. The Indian Express has tried to bring this matter to light through one such report.

students going missing

The Indian Express has mentioned a 17-year-old student in its report. He is one of the 10 NEET aspirants who went missing from Kota between January and May this year. Kota police have informed that most of the students who ran away were preparing for NEET or JEE and went missing from their hostels before or after the exams.

The story of a 17-year-old missing student

The father of a 17-year-old student from West Bengal had just arrived to drop his niece to her board exam centre in Siliguri around 8 am on February 22 when his phone rang. A teacher from Kota had called to inform him that his son was not present in the bus that was supposed to drop students to the board exam centre.

The father called the hostel warden. The warden told him that his son was not in the hostel room and his mobile was also there. He immediately booked two flight tickets for himself and his wife and reached Delhi.

Speaking to the Indian Express, he describes his son as talented and says that he has scored more than 700 out of 720 marks in his coaching institute’s NEET test series.

By the time he reached Kota at 3 am on February 23, the warden had already filed an FIR regarding his missing son. He went straight to Kota’s Kunhadi police station and checked the CCTV footage around the hostel.

SHO Arvind Bhardwaj told the Indian Express that the boy reached Kota station in an autorickshaw on the evening of February 21. He even boarded a train at the station, but got off. He did this several times and finally boarded a train bound for Agra.

A policeman was also sent to Agra along with his father to search for him. During investigation in Agra, footage was seen of the boy boarding a train to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Junction (earlier Mughalsarai), about 650 km from Agra. Meanwhile, investigation of the boy’s call detail record gave a vital clue, which revealed that he was using his late grandmother’s mobile phone. The police immediately started tracking that number.

At Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction, they found out that he had boarded a train to Ayodhya. His father and the constable left for Ayodhya. While he was on his way to Ayodhya, his phone’s location showed that he was in Patna. His location in Patna showed that he was headed to West Bengal. Since many trains from Patna go to Howrah (West Bengal), the father thought he was trying to go home.

After this, CCTV footage installed at Howrah station showed that he sat at one place for more than three hours on the afternoon of 25 February. After this, the boy went to Sealdah station from where he boarded the Darjeeling Mail and reached New Jalpaiguri, which is the nearest station to his hometown Siliguri. The father informed this to the relatives. When the train reached the station at 8 am on 26 February, the relatives started checking the coaches. He was found there and was taken along, he looked very tired and lost.


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What does the police say?

Arvind Bharadwaj, SHO of a police station in Kota who has worked on three cases of missing students from Kota, said that such cases have become a new cause of concern for the administration. He says that while we are happy that the students are not taking any drastic steps, the disappearance of students creates panic among the parents and the administration. We feel that the students cannot tolerate failure and their parents cannot see their children failing. Though we counsel the students after locating them, this problem will persist until the undue pressure on these young children is removed.

Report by Parul Kulshrestha


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