Two minor tribal boys were allegedly beaten and given electric shocks in custody by the Kamla Nagar police in Bhopal. The two boys, aged 14 and 15, were allegedly picked up by the police on August 26 on charges of theft and kept in detention for three days in violation of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act.
The Kamla Nagar town inspector (TI) Mukhtar Qureshi has, however, denied illegal detention or any kind of torture.
Talking to HT on Thursday, Nilesh (15) and Akash (14), both residents of Ganganagar slum near Nehru Nagar, said one of them was picked up by the police on August 26 evening. “They charged me with a theft that happened at Matkanagar and wanted me to name my accomplices. I was beaten up so much that I named Akash. Then he was picked up from home after midnight,” Nilesh said.
Showing scald marks between his fingers, Akash said that he was badly beaten up and given shocks between his fingers using a battery kept in police station. Also pencils were stuck between the fingers of the 14-year-old and pressed. “I was hit on my knee and back. We were kept at the police station for three days and Rs600 each was taken from our families too by the policemen,” he said.
Akash, who was earlier held for theft in 2012, said they did not mention the torture before the Juvenile Justice Board as the policemen had threatened them.
Activist Prashant Dubey said torture of minors in custody to extract confession was not new. A similar case was reported from Katni three months ago. “No action has come in that incident too,” he said.
When approached, town inspector Qureshi, however, said, “The boys were involved and have confessed to five-six incidents of theft. Medical check-up of the boys has been done and we produced them before JJB according to law within the timeframe. They are making false allegations. We would produce evidences before the JJB as required.”
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) Raman Singh Sikarwar, however, assured to institute a probe in case a complaint was lodged.
(Names of minors have been changed to protect their identity)
What JJ Act says
The JJ Act requires the minor accused to be handed over to the special juvenile police unit (SJPU) within eight hours of being taken in custody. From there, the minors are to be presented before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB). Also the minors are to be questioned at police station only in presence of child welfare officers
The two teenagers were detained in the police station for three days in gross violation of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, activist Prashant Dubey said
Activist Javed Anees said children of particular communities and localities are targeted whenever crime happens in the vicinity. “Lower rung police officials have a judgmental attitude towards them and even innocent minors end up harassed. If the police think some communities are involved in crime then they should initiate interventions to find long-term solutions,” he said.