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Padmaavat protest: JJ board seeks action against police for ‘wrongly’ arresting two minors

A mob pelted stones at a school bus and set on fire a Haryana Roadways bus in Gurgaon’s Bhondsi village for demanding a ban on the release of the controversial Sanjay Leela Bhansali film, Padmaavat

gurgaon Updated: Feb 16, 2018 21:50 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times
Padmaavat,Karni Sena,Padmaavat protest
A Haryana Roadways bus which was set on fire on January 24 near Bhondsi village in Gurgaon allegedly by activists of Karni Sena, who were protesting against the release of film, ‘Padmaavat’. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Photo)

The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Gurgaon, on Friday asked the Gurgaon Police to hold erring police officers accountable for ‘wrongly apprehending’ two minors in connection with the violence in Bhondsi on January 24.

After apprehending them, the police had applied for their discharge, claiming the minors had no role in the vandalism.

A mob stoned a school bus and set on fire a Haryana Roadways bus for demanding a ban on the release controversial Sanjay Leela Bhansali film ‘Padmaavat’.

The juveniles were among eight people held in connection with the violence.

The JJ Board also recommended that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) should take necessary action against Gurgaon Police for their ‘negligence’ in the matter.

The order, issued by Davender Singh, principal magistrate, JJ Board, read: “Above discussion is sufficient to show that police officials acted in a negligent manner and apprehended two juveniles who are not involved in any criminal activity (sic).”

Singh on Friday held a hearing on an application filed by Gurgaon Police on February 9, seeking discharge of the two minors, saying they had been ‘wrongly apprehended’ from Bhondsi.

The minors were booked under multiple charges, including attempt to murder, rioting, snatching, damaging government property and preventing government employees from discharging their duty.

In his response to the show cause notice issued by the JJ Board in connection with the Bhondsi arrests, Umesh Kumar, station house officer (SHO) of Bhondsi police station, said the family members of the minors met senior police officers and presented facts to justify their innocence.

The SHO said that on investigation, it was found that the residence of one of the apprehended minors was near the scene of violence. He said the distance between the juvenile’s house and the place of occurrence was 700 metres.

“According to the statement recorded by the parents of one of the minors, he was with his sister at her tutor’s between 3.30pm and 4.30pm on the day of the incident. Though the juvenile was at the spot at the time of the incident, he wasn’t found to be involved in any criminal activity,” a member of the JJ Board said.

On the second juvenile, the SHO said he lived in a colony just 300 metres from the scene of violence. However, the SHO clarified that on the day of the incident, the minor went to fetch his sister from school on a motorbike and wasn’t found to be involved in the incident.

The twin incidents of violence were probed by a SIT (special investigation team) and senior police officers and both the juveniles were found to be ‘innocent’. “With these submissions, it is requested that both juveniles may kindly be discharged,” read a copy of the reply filed by the SHO before the JJ Board.

Singh, however, observed that while the SHO sought their discharge, no entry in the police diary was produced before the board elaborating how the officers conducted the probe and how the minors were found to be innocent.

“(The) police has failed to comply with mandatory provisions.The evidence is sufficient to show that (the) police officials acted in a negligent manner and apprehended two juveniles who are not involved in any criminal activity (sic),” read the order.

“(The) Police had violated right to personal liberty of the two juveniles for 23 days and both juveniles (were) also mentally, socially, physiologically harassed and humiliated by the carelessness of (the) police (sic),” said the order, a copy of which was sent to the observation home in Faridabad where the juveniles are lodged.

The order said registration of an FIR does not mean the accused have to be held and produced before the JJB immediately. Police have to investigate the matter properly before making any arrest, the order said.

Sandeep Khirwar, Gurgaon police commissioner said, “We will scrutinise the order and take appropriate legal action.”

First Published: Feb 16, 2018 21:50 IST