No, 13 lakh women were not reported missing in India between 2019-2021

By: Rajeswari Parasa
February 22 2024

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No, 13 lakh women were not reported missing in India between 2019-2021

Screenshot of the viral video shared online. (Source: Facebook/Modified by Logically Facts)

Fact-Check

The Verdict False

According to NCRB data, a total of 4,65,171 were reported missing in India till 2021 and 2,03,893 remained untraced by the year-end.

Claim ID 55ed6fb8

What is the claim?

A video of a man talking in Telugu about cases of missing women and abduction in India is circulating widely on social media. The video shows the alleged kidnapping of a woman as an example of how cases of missing women are rising in India. 

The video shows a woman in a saree riding a two-wheeler being stopped by another woman in a kurta, who asks for a lift. We can see the woman offering her a ride, and then the kurta-clad woman sneakingly stuffing a piece of cloth in the exhaust pipe. The rider then fails to start her scooter and the second woman then leads her to a white car. She then forces the first woman inside the car with the help of a man. 

Displaying this clip in a small inset, the man claims that from 2019 to 2021, around "13.13 lakhs women have vanished like this" and adds that "till now we don't know where they are" insinuating they were all kidnapped. He further attributes this data to the Government of India and asks all the women to be careful as "women are doing this to other women." Posts sharing the claim, one of which has more than 3.5 million views, can be viewed here and here.

However, the claim made in the viral video is false. Firstly, the footage showing the alleged kidnapping of a woman is from a scripted video and does not show an actual incident. Secondly, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data cited in this video has been misinterpreted.

What are the facts?

A reverse image search on the keyframes from the clip showing the alleged abduction led us to the longer video posted by the YouTube channel '3RDEYE24X7.' The video was shared in April 2022, and its description states that the channel features "scripted dramas and parodies" for public awareness and that the video is for "entertainment purposes only." We found the channel has uploaded several similar scripted videos in the past.


Screenshot of the video shared by '3RDEYE247' on YouTube.

NCRB data on missing girls and women

On July 26, 2023, Ajay Kumar Mishra, minister of state for home affairs, tabled the data on missing women and girls in the Rajya Sabha (Parliament's upper house) for 2019, 2020, and 2021. According to this data, which cited NCRB as the source, 82,084 girls and 3,42,168 women were missing till 2019. In 2020, these figures stood at 79,233 and, 3,44,222, respectively. It should be noted that these figures are cumulative and include untraced women and girls from previous years as well. The total number of missing girls (90,113) and women (3,75,058) in 2021, as per the home minister's reply (citing NCRB data), was 4,65,171. 

Whereas the man in the viral video has claimed that more than 13 lakh women went missing between 2019 and 2021, the total number of missing females reported in India, as per Rajya Sabha records, till 2021 was just slightly over 4.6 lakh. 

What does NCRB data say?

Logically Facts also went through official NCRB data and combed through the records on missing females (women and girls) for each year from 2019 to 2021. It should be noted that NCRB also records the number of women traced the year they were reported missing or subsequent years. 

In 2019, the number of females who went missing was 2,48,397. The total number of women and girls missing till 2019, according to NCRB, was 4,22,439. (The slight discrepancy with the 2019 figure as tabled in the Rajya Sabha could possibly be because the NCRB updated its figures later.) Of the 2,48, 397 women and girls, who were reported missing, 1,62,939, were traced the same year. 

(Source: National Crime Records Bureau/Modified by Logically Facts)

According to NCRB records, in 2020, 2,22,395 women and girls were reported missing, and 1,52,020 of these were traced the same year.

(Source: National Crime Records Bureau/Modified by Logically Facts)

In 2021, 2,65,481 females were reported missing, and 1,90,421 of them were traced the same year.

Cumulatively, as of 2021, a total of 465,171 females were reported missing (this figure takes into account women and girls traced over the years). The same year a total of 2,61,278 women and girls were traced and recovered. As many as 2,03,893 girls and women remained untraced till 2021, the NCRB data said. 

(Source: National Crime Records Bureau/Modified by Logically Facts)

Are all missing women 'kidnapped?'

Dara Kavitha, deputy commissioner of police in Telangana's Women Safety Wing, also clarified that not all 'missing' women are kidnapped, as implied in the viral clip. Speaking to Logically Facts, she said, "Out of the total number of missing cases, kidnapping cases are usually less." She also said that missing cases include elopement or runaway cases. "These are usually traced back, reducing the number of missing women cases," she added.

Singapogu Subbarao, a lawyer practicing in the High Court of Telangana, also backed these assertions. "If we take 100 cases of missing women, nearly 60 percent of cases might be of women who have left their homes of their own volition (this may include minors and women who elope), but the parents would file a missing person case. There might also be cases of accident, where unidentified bodies are registered as missing persons; some cases could also be of human trafficking and sexual assault."

The verdict 

The viral clip presents a scripted video as a real incident of a woman being kidnapped and falsely claims that more than 13 lakh women and girls were reported missing between 2019 and 2021. According to the NCRB, 4,65,171 were reported missing till 2021 in India, many of which were traced to the same. A total of 2,03,893 females remained untraced till 2021. Therefore, we mark the claim false. 

(Correction:
This story previously said that according to NCRB data, 4,24,242 women and girls were missing till 2019. The figure has now been corrected. The error is regretted.)

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