After detaining seven boys between 11 and 13 years for an hour at Vashi police station for playing cricket and making a ruckus, the police on Sunday defended themselves saying their action was based on the fact that the complainant is a senior citizen and “a respectable NRI from the US” whose 80-year-old mother has cancer.
Raosaheb Sardesai, senior inspector, Vashi police station, said: “The media is making a hue and cry over the issue. We just did our job.”
The incident took place on Friday at Sun Villa society, sector 28, Vashi. Saurav Bhosale, one of the boys, said: “We were playing in the shade when aunty came and took our photos. We asked her what she was doing but she shut her door. The police came and took us to the station.”
The complainant, Shruti Bhatt, said: “The children are a nuisance and their parents haven’t kept a check on them despite complaints. They play cricket and make a lot of noise. The ball comes into the house so we have to keep our windows shut for fear of getting hurt.”
Bhatt said she and her mother have been suffering for a year. “We had no option but to complain. When the police came to check, they caught the kids red-handed. As they didn’t have a vehicle, they asked me to take the children to the station in my car and followed.”
The boys were released when their parents arrived at the station. The parents had registered a complaint with the police commissioner against the action, but have now withdrawn it.
A senior police official admitted the situation was handled badly. He said: “The beat marshal should have just reprimanded the kids. He probably got carried away as the complainant is a senior citizen.”
Bhatt had not lodged a formal complaint against the boys; her complaint was against the society members.
The police also booked four parents for alleged trespassing and harassment when they went to Bhatt’s house after the incident. Santosh Bhosale, Saurav’s father, said some parents went to Bhatt’s house after their children were picked up by the police. “Her mother called up Bhatt who was at the police station and said we were threatening her. A complaint was then filed against us,” he said. “The police seem to be acting under pressure. Why else would they take such harsh action against the children and us?”