The Juvenile Justice Act prohibits the police from taking minors in conflict with the law to the police station.

Not finding the father police pick up minor boy harass himImage: Babu with Ramesh's mother Rukmani
news Law and Order Saturday, November 05, 2016 - 11:10

Seventeen-year-old Ramesh*, a tribal boy, hasn’t had a full meal in the last three days. He is still trying to get over his fear.

At 2.30 am on October 30, the Ramnatham police (Cuddalore district) turned up at Ramesh’s house in Villupuram district. They had come looking for his father Kolangi (40) for a theft that occurred in a village in the neighbouring Cuddalore district.

When Ramesh told them his father was not at home, the police picked up Ramesh and took him to the police station. “They threatened him and asked him why he stole (something). I sat outside the station and kept asking them to release my son but they didn’t. He was very scared and kept crying,” said Rukmani (35). 

The Juvenile Justice Act prohibits the police from taking minors in conflict with the law to the police station. Children in conflict with the law are to be dealt with by the Juvenile Justice Board. 

After allegedly illegally detaining him for about 24 hours, the police got a call and released him on September 31 night. 

Ramesh hails from the tribal Kurava community. This story was first reported by Karl Marx of The New Indian Express, when Social Awareness Society for Youth (SASY) helped Rukmani file a complaint with the Cuddalore SP. 

SASY has sent petitions to Human Rights Commission, Cuddalore SP, the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Commission and the Child Rights Commission, urging them to take action against four policemen from Ramnatham police station who allegedly detained Ramesh illegally.

Cuddalore SP Vijaykumar told The News Minute that he was yet to go through the petition.

SASY says they secured Ramesh’s release with the intervention of the District Revenue Officer (DRO). “We called the DRO and within an hour, the boy was released. Before that, they did not listen to anyone, even the panchayat members had asked them to release the boy,” said R Babu, who works with SASY.

Babu alleges that the police falsely arrest a lot of people from the Kurava community. “They are a minority in Tamil Nadu and do not have anyone to support them,” he says.

Here, the police used past cases against Ramesh’s father Kolangi as an excuse, Babu alleges. Kolangi was implicated in many cases about 18 years ago but all the charges against him were dropped. “In this particular theft case, Kolangi’s friend Shankar, was suspected of carrying out a theft in the neighbouring village. So, police wanted to interrogate Kolangi also,” said Babu. 

Rukmani said that her husband had a slaughter house to butcher pigs and that he was not involved in any illegal activity in the past 18 years.

Ramesh however, has been traumatised. “He has not eaten properly since, and was not ready to go to school either. We made him understand that it was not his fault and I dropped him to school,” said Rukmani.

*Name changed on request.

 

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