The most significant issue that has occupied the minds of the people in this country in the aftermath of the gruesome killings of twenty Bangladeshi, Japanese and Italians on July1, is the matter of the youths that have gone missing in the last several years, and who may have joined the ranks of the international extremist groups. All the five terrorists killed in the encounter with the army commandoes had been missing from home for quite a while. This is a case that admits of no laxity. Various numbers of those missing are making the rounds which are merely ballpark figures and that makes it even more imperative for the authorities to delve into it urgently. And this should be done in two phases we feel.
Firstly, the security agencies should ascertain the exact number of the youths that have left home without a trace. And to get to all the facts it is essential that the cooperation of the parents in particular, and the society at large, is important. One of the reasons we feel that parents hesitate to go to the police is the fear of harassment that they might have to suffer after lodging a complaint. This we feel is not an unfounded apprehension which the police should take all necessary steps to assuage. And after this, schools, colleges and such institutions could be involved.
Without getting to the facts we are afraid the concerned authorities would not be able to formulate an effective countermeasure to stem this trend which should be the second step in our effort to mitigate the problem.