Instead of heading home after completing his sentence, a juvenile convicted in the infamous December 16 gang rape case has decided to spend a year with an NGO to ensure his safety and get rehabilitated back into society, sources told HT on Thursday.
The move came after months of outrage by civil society groups and reports that the convict, now 21 years old, was radicalised inside the detention centre by a fellow inmate.
Activist Amod Kanth stressed the juvenile would have had to voluntarily consent to be taken into “after care” by an NGO as he had already served his full sentence as per law.
“He (the convict) can be associated with a voluntary organisation that has to look after him in order to rehabilitate him to become socially reintegrated and help him become a good citizen. Health, counselling, economic empowerment for him would be the goals,” Kanth told HT.
HT had reported on November 26 that authorities were mulling invoking the National Security Act to stop the juvenile from leaving Delhi or go to Srinagar — the native place of the convict who indoctrinated him — as any such move may stoke more trouble and communal tensions. He was set to be released on December 15.
The juvenile escaped the gallows because he was 17 years and nine months old at the time of his arrest. Three of his co-accused are currently on death row.
Just weeks before his release, his victim’s parents had approached the National Human Rights Commission pleading that the NHRC intervene to stop the convict’s release on the grounds that he was a continuing “threat to society”.
They had also asked for his face to be revealed.
Police had originally planned a quiet release for the juvenile, sensing a visible threat to his life due to adverse public opinion and clamorous demands for him to be hanged.
The seemingly lenient sentence of three years given to juveniles also sparked a nationwide debate with a section of people seeking lowering of the age limit for heinous crimes like rape and murder.
On December 1, Union minister Maneka Gandhi had also said she was writing to home ministry requesting that the convict should be tracked once released.