In a bid to clean the city of “criminal elements” ahead of May 16 civic polls, the Patna police have included six schoolboys in their list of “habitual offenders and threats to peace”.
On March 19, all six -- residents of Yadav Nagar, in the northwestern suburbs of Patna — were booked under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code. Under law, minors can only be booked under the Juvenile Justice Act.
On Monday, the boys — all 15 and 16-year-olds — have to appear before a court and pay a bond of Rs 1 lakh, an uphill task for their economically backward parents.
“I fail to understand how my two sons, students of class 9 and class 10, can disrupt the poll process,” said Savita Devi. A junior employee of Khagaul nagar parishad, she said she was in no position to furnish R2 lakh for the bond.
The move of the Khagaul police has caused resentment among the locals, who describe it as high-handedness of the worst kind. Two of the boys belong to a Dalit family. The rest are from Other Backward Castes.
“Failing to curb history-sheeters, the Khagaul police are punishing teenagers,” said Uday Shankar, former mukhia of the local Jamaluddinchak panchayat. Bhai Sanoj Yadav, a local, said earlier, two of the boys were sent to a remand home on charge of possessing a country-made pistol.
Patna city superintendent of police Kim said she would find out how the boys’ names ended up on a list of troublemakers. “This may be a case of mistaken identity,” she told HT.