When they're constantly chided at home and at school, the child feels neglected, and this can be a problem.

Three-year-old set on fire by minor in Hyderabad Violence by minors a growing concern
news Child Abuse Wednesday, October 05, 2016 - 18:06

In a tragic incident, a three-year-old boy in Hyderabad was set on fire by his 16-year-old neighbour in Kalapathar, for not moving aside when the latter asked him.

According to reports, Ali Shair was playing in front of his house with some others when the teenager came on his bike and shouted at the kids to move away.

“He threatened my son once again. But when he did not move, he took petrol from his bike, poured it on the child and set him ablaze...He has burns on his neck, head, back and shoulders. Doctors said his condition is critical and that he needs better treatment,” the boy's father told Deccan Chronicle.

Ali is currently undergoing treatment at the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) in the city.

This incident is not an isolated one. There is a growing concern over the number of crimes committed by minors in the city in recent times.

In July this year, a six-year-old boy died while undergoing treatment after an alleged fight on his school campus at Towlichoki.

The parents had alleged that another boy, who was two years older than their child had beaten him up on the school premises on July 12.

This was shortly before two videos from the city went viral on the internet.

One of them showed a bunch of boys tying puppies, piling twigs and hay to create a pyre and then setting it ablaze as the puppies howled in pain. 

Even as the puppies tried to escape from the flames, the boys use sticks to force them into the blaze.  

In another video, a young man was seen shooting two dogs with a rifle. While the first dog escaped the shot, the second dog that was seen running towards the gate was shot. The video showed the second dog quivering.

Read - Another horrifying video: Puppies burnt alive by a gang of boys in Hyderabad

"People often look at these incidents in isolation when it is part of a much larger problem," says Achyuta Rao,  founder of the Balala Hakkula Sangham, a children rights group.

"It is not just physical offences but many cases of sexual offences by minors on minors have been registered in various police stations throughout the city," Achutya adds.

Achutya feels that the rise in the number of incidents is of concern and the aggression by minors is a culmination of various smaller reasons.

"Starting at home, urban parents today often do not spend enough time with their children. It is understandable as they have to work to provide economic support, but it is also their responsibility to make the child socially conscious," he says.

Last year, a 17-year-old was beaten to death in a street fight in the Old City area, even as some other minors witnessed it. 

A video of the incident that went viral on Whatsapp showed a 19-year-old repeatedly punching the victim, as his friends cheered him on.

"Schools are also equally responsible. Instead of just churning out studying machines who only know how to score marks, they should make them socially conscious and teach them to make moral decisions too," Acutya says.

"When they're constantly chided at home and at school, the child feels neglected. A feeling of isolation, especially at home, is really hard on the child." he adds.

Another main factor according to Achutya is violence on TV and in movies. 

"In most Telugu movies, a hero is always portrayed as someone who can beat 20 villains with his bare knuckles and can defend his lover to the death. What kind of impression does that leave on the children, when they begin to idolize these characters?" he asks.

The police often recommend counselling for minors involved in such crimes. However, more often than not, the counselling is not of much use. 

"The minor who committed the crime is also a mental victim. Besides counselling, the parents and teachers should be supportive of the child and ensure that he/she can channel all that energy in a different way. We must ensure that we prevent child crime from progressing into adult crime, for a better society" Achutya adds.

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