10-year-old lynched over suspicion of stealing snacks in Karnataka
A 10-year-old boy succumbed to his injuries seven days after he was beaten up by four people for allegedly stealing snacks from a grocery store in Uppanashi in Karnataka’s Haveri district, police said on Wednesday.
According to the police and the boy's family members, the boy was allegedly held captive on March 16 for several hours, beaten up by the owners of the shop, and released only after his mother pleaded with them. Later that night, when the boy’s condition worsened, he was rushed to a hospital in Haveri, from where the doctors referred him to Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Hubballi, where he died on Tuesday.
The post-mortem examination report is still awaited, a KIMS spokesperson said. A second official at the hospital said on condition of anonymity said that boy developed a fever while undergoing treatment, and died due to brain haemorrhage. What led to this will only be found in the post-mortem report, he added.
A case of murder, wrongful restraint, and assault, was registered on Tuesday against four people -- shopkeeper Pavan Karishettar, his mother Basavannevva Karishettar, his uncle Kumar Haveri, and his maternal grandfather Shivarudrappa Haveri. They are all absconding, police said.
In a video shot at the hospital before this death, the boy named the four people, and recounted what happened during his alleged captivity. He said that he was first locked up in a room. After a while, the old woman (Basavannevva) in the house took him out of the room and made him sit outside. “An old man came and hit me twice. He asked me not to move from there. Then, the shopkeeper came and took me to the backyard, where two others joined. They hit me on my legs, neck, and legs. Pawan made me bend down and hit me with a stone,” he said.
The statement has been recorded by the police.
According to the police complaint lodged on March 17by the boy’s father, Nagayya Hiremath, their son was sent to the store to buy some groceries. When he did not return home for over two hours, Hiremath went to the store. He found that the boy was in the shopkeepers’ custody, and was being beaten on the suspicion of the theft. He requested the shopkeeper to release the boy, but Pavan Karishettar told Hiremath that he wanted to teach him a lesson. At around 3pm, the boy’s mother went to the shop and pleaded with him, but the owners first asked her to come back at 5pm. Only after she fought and pleaded with the shopkeepers, did they release the boy, the complaint said.
Rani Hiremath, a relative of the boy’s family, said that police did not register an FIR on March 17. She said they just took a written statement from the boy’s father.
When asked about this particular complaint, SP Devaraju said he would “look into the allegation”.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 94 instances involving the murder of children, and 107 children were killed in 2019. Sabhiya Saldana, a Bengaluru-based child rights activists said that the police not filing an FIR on the day of the incident was a matter of concern. “Filing an FIR only after the child has died means the police did not take assault seriously,” she said.