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The Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Committee has told the Supreme Court that as many as 144 minors have been detained by the authorities in the State of Jammu and Kashmir since August 5 this year. This list of 144 names also includes children as young as 9, 11, and 13 years of age.
The Committee has placed reliance on the report submitted by the Director-General of Police, Srinagar who has refuted media reports alleging transgressions on children while at the same time listing the details of 144 minors who were detained and subsequently released.
The Supreme Court had sought a report from the Juvenile Justice Committee pursuant to a petition filed by Enakshi Ganguly who had cited reports of alleged illegal detention and arrest of children in Kashmir in the aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370. The State had been in a complete lockdown starting August 5 and the curfew in various parts of Kashmir has not been lifted yet.
The four-member committee headed by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and comprising Justices DS Thakur, Sanjeev Kumar and Rashid Ali Dar of the J&K High court has annexed the report submitted by the Director-General of Police, Srinagar who has refuted the allegations of any transgressions on the children. The report submitted by the DGP, however, lists as many as 144 minors who were detained between August 5 and September 23. However, the DGP has claimed that most of these children were released on the same day as they were detained. The Police report states,
“Ever since the historic decision regarding abrogation of Article 370 was taken, it was necessitated to take immediate preventive measures in order to protect life and property of the people and avoid any problem that could breach the peace and public tranquility, same was strictly taken in consonance with the law of the land. However, in connection with children whomsoever were found to be in conflict of law, same was strictly dealt in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and strict directions have been provided from time to time to deal with the children strictly in accordance with the provisions of the relevant Act.”
The J&K Police has refuted claims made in all the media reports and has questioned the bona fides of the petitioner claiming that the petition is “only an exaggeration to settle political score and to demoralise State action.”
The report then goes on to list 144 juveniles who were detained by the authorities. This list includes juveniles as young as 11 and 13 years of age also while one child who is 9 years old also features in the list. The status column across most of these names suggests that they had been released the same day.
While some of the children were picked up by the Police on allegations of rioting, stone pelting, attacking police personnel or restraining movement of other persons, a sizeable number of the minors were detained under provisions of preventive detention.
The Juvenile Justice Committee has also adverted to a report by the Director of the Women and Child Development. As per the same, the number of juveniles detained and lodged in Juvenile Homes in Srinagar and Jammu is 46 – 36 in Srinagar and 10 in Jammu. Out of the 46, 21 are still under detention, 15 in Srinagar and 6 in Jammu.
The case is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court next on October 16.
Image from here.