Just a few days after an arrest warrant was issued against a three-year-old boy charged with rioting and pelting stones on the police in Purnea district in Patna, two minors were put behind the bars on Sunday for an innocuous act — stealing berries (jamuns).
Rakesh (10) and Rahul (6) were picked up and jailed in the Shashtrinagar police station for violating the Juveniles Justice Act.
However, as soon as the media intervened and flashed the news, both were immediately released.
The children claimed the police had beaten them with sticks in order to make them confess to the crime. “Police caught us stealing jamuns while our friends ran away,” said Rakesh.
Patna SSP Kundan Krishnan admitted the lapse and expressed regret over the incident.
“It was a fault on part of an official was has just joined. Some locals n fact had caught the boys, five in number. The policeman reached there and caught hold of two of them, while others escaped,” he added.
Krishnan said it was a fact that the two were kept in the lock up for around two hours, but not for six to seven hours as it was reported.
“As soon as the Station House Officer (SHO) reached the police station, he set the boys free,” the SSP said, adding the erring officer will sure be taught a lesson.
This is not the first time that children have found themselves at the receiving end of the police force, despite clear guidelines given in the Juvenile Justice Act, the police officer added.