The 18-year-old sent to a reformatory for three years in connection with the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old physiotherapist last year was hoping to get away with a shorter stay at the correction home.
On Saturday, a juvenile court sent him to the reformatory for 28 months, considering his time already spent at a correction centre. His lawyer said his client was “slightly depressed” as he would have to stay for another two years and four months in the reformatory at north Delhi’s Majnu Ka Tila.
During counselling, it was observed that the teen, described by the prosecution as the most brutal of all six accused, had stopped interacting with the reformatory staff. He was reportedly keeping to himself after his return from the Juvenile Justice Board on Saturday.
“He was depressed when he was sent here in December. For some days, he didn’t interact much but later he settled well and started participating in vocational activities. After Saturday’s verdict, he has again stopped talking. He is not interacting much,” said a senior official.
“We will focus more on him during counselling sessions so that the judgment doesn’t affect him adversely,” said the official.
Kept in isolation from other inmates, he spends most of his time playing ludo and watching television. Counsellors working with him are now trying to gauge his interest in vocational training.
Illiterate when he was first brought to the home, he has shown keen interest in learning Hindi. He can now write his name in the language.
“He has been kept separately for other inmates only for security reasons. However, this doesn’t mean he is alone. Our social welfare officers, counsellors and staff interact with him daily,” said an official at the Majnu Ka Tila correction home, requesting anonymity.
Sources said he starts his day at 7 am and after breakfast, a specially-appointed teacher spends two hours with him to teach basic Hindi and English.
“We keep a constant watch. His dormitory has a television set and he is allowed to watch anything but he usually sees news-related programmes,” the official said.The correction home staff is working out a special after care programme for him so that he is able to start earning a living after completing his sentence. “The boy is being given vocational training and has shown his interest in tailoring,” said the official. They said the boy used to discuss the gang rape case earlier. He has stopped talking about it now.