Police brought six juvenile offenders to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) on Monday morning with ropes around their waists and hands in a blatant violation of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, which forbids handcuffs or fetters on a minor offender.
Around 11.45am, the boys in their early teens, tied with thick ropes, were paraded for 150m, from the RIMS entrance to the superintendent’s room.
It earned curiosity of patients who hurled questions at them, even asking them if they were the minor rapists in the recent Kamre case.
A blue police jeep stood at the entrance. Two policemen accompanied the six boys.
As soon as the media present on hospital premises started asking policemen why they were tied up, the duo shepherded the boys to the vehicle.
According to Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, police can’t handcuff or tie up juvenile offenders who are in conflict with the law.
Police workshops on child-friendly rules are often hosted in the state. On December 24, 2013, at a child-friendly police station programme in the capital, a special session was held on dos and don’ts of handling children in conflict with the law.
Realising they had committed a faux pas, policemen refused to tell their own names or even divulge why the six had been brought to the state-run hospital.
When The Telegraph went to the chamber of RIMS superintendent Kumari Basundhra, she said police had brought the boys to RIMS for age verification.
“I have personally not seen the boys, but I heard they came,” she said.
Apparently, the appointment for age verification was on January 22, but the police mistook the date. Basundhra refused to divulge further details, including the offence for which the juveniles had been booked.
Adding comic relief, when a policeman entered the superintendent’s chamber to confirm the appointment for January 22, he said with a straight face: “Aaj koi bachche yehan nahi laye gaye thhey (No child was brought here today).”
Contradicting him, Vibha Devi, an eyewitness sitting near the superintendent’s room, said: “Sabhi bachche 14-15 saal ke lag rahe they, unke haath aur kamar mein rassi bandha hua tha. (The boys looked between 14 and 15 years old. Ropes were tied around their waists and wrists).”
Sampat Meena, IG (organised crime), said tying boys with ropes was completely wrong.
“Instead of fetters or handcuffs, there should be more policemen to escort juveniles. We don’t want them to escape, but they should definitely not be tied up. I will check with SSP Bhimsen Tuti and also find out how juveniles are taken to hospitals,” she said.
Ranchi has an observation home for juvenile boys in Dumardaga, near Booty. This apart, minor offenders from all across the state are brought to RIMS for treatment or other medical formalities when required.
Can brutal treatment turn kids into hardened criminals?