Teenage predators too on the prowl
Alarming increase in incidents of juveniles committing rape, minors between 16-18 years constitute larger percentage. In Uttar Pradesh, at least 126 incidents of rape by juveniles were reported from different districts in 2016.lucknow Updated: Mar 14, 2018 16:36 IST
It came as a shocker not only for the media but also the common man when police apprehended a 16-year-old boy for the brutal rape-cum-murder of an eight-year-old girl in July 2017. The boy was alleged to be the main culprit behind the gruesome incident. The girl’s parents were initially not convinced about the police theory that the juvenile was guilty and believed only when enough evidences were presented before them to prove his involvement in the crime.
Trends have shown that at least 2,054 juveniles were apprehended in 1,903 incidents of rape across the country, according to the recent data (year 2016) of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) . In Uttar Pradesh, at least 126 incidents of rape by juveniles were reported from different districts in 2016. Only Madhya Pradesh (442), Maharashtra (258), Rajasthan (159), Delhi (155) and Chhattisgarh (148) were the states reporting more rapes by juveniles than Uttar Pradesh.
The trend has also shown that those between 16-18 years committed a large percentage of such heinous crimes. The NCRB data shows that 76% of juveniles involved in rape incidents in 2016 were between the same age group . In 2015 and 2014, at least 62% and 69.4% of juveniles between 16-18 years were involved in such crimes respectively. The rape by juveniles stood at around 4.01% of all types of crimes committed by minors in 2016 while this percentage was as low as 3.1 in 2015.
Even in Lucknow, the members of the juvenile justice board confirm that over 50% cases of heinous crimes by juveniles are committed by those who are nearing the age of 18 years.
Dinesh Pandey, former member of the JJ Board said, “In many cases of rape and murder, we found that the age of the accused was around 17 years. In some cases, the accused were only a few months less than 18 years and were treated as juveniles.”
Since cases continue to linger on at the JJ boards for years, a number of perpetrators of rapes and other crimes continue to move freely.
According to sources in the JJ Board, several hundred such cases are pending and a number of accused under trial in the JJ board are married and settled but the decision in their case is yet to be made.
Rohit Kant Srivastava, a senior criminal lawyer, said, “With the kind of exposure children get these days, they are very well aware of the consequences of the crimes. Thus the juveniles, specially those nearing 18 years of age, must be dealt with accordingly as it would send the right message in the society.”
Member of Lucknow Child Welfare Committee, Sangeeta Sharma, however, had a different opinion. She said that children were not prepared for the kind of exposure they were getting these days due to availability of Internet and smartphones .