14-yr-old Tral boy ‘jailed’ in violation of Juvenile Justice Act


Taking a serious note of the alleged detention of a 14-year-old juvenile from southern Tral township by the police, the chairman of the apex committee for juveniles in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday sought his immediate release, saying he cannot be kept in a lockup as per the law.
Justice (retired) Hasnain Masoodi, the chairman of the selection-cum-oversight committee has written to the principal secretary, Home, as well as the additional director general of police (headquarters), who is a nodal officer under the Juvenile Justice Act, to set the juvenile free. 
“It is reported that a 14-year-old boy has been detained by police station Tral. The arrest and detention of the boy in the police station is, on the face of it, a gross violation of the Juvenile Justice Act and therefore forbidden under the law. I would request you (to) kindly intervene in the matter, and ensure that the juvenile is let off immediately, unless required to be brought before the Juvenile Justice Board,” Masoodi’s letter reads.
Calling for an inquiry into the incident, Justice Masoodi has written: “If the allegation (that a juvenile was detained) is found to be true, action should be taken against the erring officer as per law. I would also suggest that a circular be issued to remind the police (officers) to desist from arresting and detaining a juvenile in future.”
This is not the first time that a juvenile has been detained in Kashmir.
In December last year, six boys (juveniles) from Srinagar’s Batamaloo were allegedly detained by the police but were later set free after intervention by the Juvenile Justice Board (Srinagar). The police had, however, denied having kept these boys in a lockup, claiming that “they were called here for counselling”.
On October 29 last year, a class 12 student from southern Shopian district was picked by the police from Imam-Sahib area allegedly in place of his brother and detained at a police station for two days.  Due to his alleged illegal detention, the 18-year-old couldn’t sit in his examinations, but Justice Masoodi reportedly intervened in the matter later and asked the BOSE authorities to conduct the examination of the student.
Despite the juvenile justice system in place in Jammu and Kashmir, children continue to serve imprisonment in jails.
As per a report titled “Terrorised: Impact of violence of children of J&K”, published by the J&K coalition of civil society (JKCCS) on 16 September 2016, a “16-year-old juvenile from Delina, Baramulla, was arrested by the police under charges of throwing stones at government forces. Two days later, he was booked under Public Safety Act”.
Citing another case, the report said that on 28 August 2016, a 14-year-old juvenile was arrested by the police from his home at Frisal area in southern Kulgam district. 
“He spent 20 days in illegal detention at a police station in Bijbehera before he was booked under PSA, despite being a minor”.
“In another such case, a 17-year-old was arrested from his home at Kralgund, Handwara on 5 September 2016 and detained at police station Kralgund. He spent 14 days in illegal custody before PSA charges were brought against him on 19 September that year.  In the dossier his age was wrongly stated as 22”.

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