Madhya Pradesh continues to be the state with the highest incidents of juvenile crime in the country, accounting for one out of every five criminal cases reported in 2014, the latest national crime data shows.
According to data released by the National Crime Records Bureau, in 2014, the state reported 6,346 incidents of crime committed by persons below 18 years of age or 20.19% of the 31, 426 cases registered in the country under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
Maharashtra with 5,175 cases is way behind Madhya Pradesh.
Though the number of cases of murders and attempts to murders by minors has come down considerably in state as compared to 2013 (see below), rape cases against them have jumped up significantly.
The overall criminal cases have also gone up compared to 6,210 reported in 2013.
In all, 434 cases of rape were registered against minors in Madhya Pradesh in 2014 – more than double of the 208 cases registered in Maharashtra that stands second in country in this category too.
While the state police attributed the increase in the incident of juvenile crimes to ‘over-sensitive attitude of police in registering criminal cases’, experts feel that the unmonitored exposure of minor to sexuality and crime because of easily available technology is a big reason behind the trend.
Archana Sahay of Bhopal Child Line, who works closely with the special juvenile police unit (SJPU), does not think there is rise in criminal tendency among children.
“According to our experience, most of the heinous crimes are provocative in nature rather than planned. And a drop in cases of murder and attempts to murder is heartening,” she said.
On the rise in rape cases, she said: “Since both the persons involved in juvenile rape cases are normally minors, criminal cases are registered irrespective of the fact whether the act was with mutual consent.”
She further said that exposure to all kinds of material on Internet is easily available on mobile phones awaken curiosity and tendency of minors to experiment, leading to incidents of crime.
“In present circumstances, the responsibility of parents has increased multifold to monitor and counsel their children properly before they are allowed access to technology. Parents would have to change their behaviour and keep communication channel open with their children.”
GP Singh, the additional director general of state criminal investigation department under which the Juvenile Aid Bureau functions, said the Madhya Pradesh police was very sensitive towards registering criminal cases so that no perpetrator went unpunished.
“We don’t mind if the statistics swell. Peaceful and secure atmosphere is what matters,” he said.
He added that as for juvenile accused, the SJPUs work to ensure that these persons get adequate counselling and care even as the legal process continues. “Counselling for these minors is an important intervention,” he said.
The state reported 6,346 incidents of crime committed by persons below 18 years
Crime 2013 2014
Murder 141 94
Attempt to murder 162 102
Rape 347 434
Total crime 6210 6346