In punishing two children for the crime of theft, a Patna shopkeeper went on to commit one himself – he tied the 10 and 13 year olds to a pole and thrashed them. Babban Kumar alias Bablu, who runs a store in Sri Krishna Puri locality of Patna, kept the children tied in front of his shop for more than two hours, before their parents finally pooled in the ‘stolen’ amount and gave it to him, on Friday.
Later, Kumar even called up the HT reporter who witnessed the child abuse to inform him that he had released the children.
The grocer alleged four children stole Rs 3,000 from his shop when he stepped out for a while. Kumar caught two of them and tied them up to “persuade” the other two offenders to return his money. “Wads of Rs. 10 notes totalling Rs 1,000 were recovered from the pocket of a child. The other two took Rs. 2,000,” he said.
Kumar was unmoved even when the victims’ parents came and pleaded with him to release their children. When a third accused was brought to the shop by his mother, the shopkeeper detained him as well. It was only after the three families decided to pool the amount and “compensate” Kumar that the children were released.
Locals claimed they had informed the police about the incident, but the station house officer of the Sri Krishna Puri police station, Vidyasagar, said: “We have not received any such complaint and have no knowledge about the incident.”
Secretary of Bihar Child Rights Protection Commission, N Vijayalakshmi, told HT: “We will seek a report from the district administration and the police.”