India

Jhanvi Ahuja: Missing three-year-old Indian girl found

Jhanvi Image copyright other
Image caption Jhanvi's family launched a massive social media campaign to find her

A three-year-old Indian girl who went missing a week ago has been found after her family launched a massive social media campaign.

Jhanvi Ahuja was visiting the India Gate monument in Delhi on the night of 28 September with her parents and other relatives when she disappeared.

She was found on Sunday night with a placard around her neck with her name and her uncle's telephone number on it.

A passer-by who found her called her family and informed the police.

After the child went missing, her family launched a campaign - Bring Back Jhanvi - on Facebook, Twitter and the instant messaging service WhatsApp to find her.

"She was found standing on a road outside a gurudwara (Sikh temple) in Janakpuri area in west Delhi," Jhanvi's uncle Gaurav Chopra told the BBC.

"She had a little board hanging around her neck. It gave her name and her father's name. It said she was lost at India Gate and asked anyone who found her to call her father. The board had my mobile phone number written on it."

Image copyright Other
Image caption Jhanvi was found with her head shaved

Mr Chopra said he asked the caller, a teenager, to sit with the child while he drove to the area.

"The people who had taken her had shaved her head but I immediately recognised her. I started crying, she also started crying. I gave her some chocolates. She looked a little tense, but she was fine and in good health."

Mr Chopra took her to the police station where Jhanvi's parents also arrived and identified her.

Her father Rakesh Ahuja told reporters that it was like "a rebirth of a daughter".

It is not yet known who took away the child but police say they suspect her kidnappers panicked and abandoned her following a widespread media coverage of the case and the social media campaign.

Some suspect that her head was shaved to change her appearance.

Child rights organisations says nearly 96,000 children disappear in India every year and that most of the missing children end up as labour, in brothels or in other exploitative situations.

Activists say the authorities are not doing enough to stop child trafficking but officials claim a lack of resources and co-ordination on a national level makes tracing missing children difficult.

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