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Minor torture cry against cops

The family of a teenager in cop custody for nine days has alleged that officers at Chitpur police station have detained him illegally despite he being a minor and tortured him in the lock-up.

The police said they were unaware of the boy’s age and would produce him before the juvenile justice board on Saturday. The charge of torture would be probed, said an officer.

According to the birth certificate produced by the boy’s family, the accused is 17 years and nine months old.

Senior police officers in the north division said the boy, a resident of Raja Manindra Road in Chitpur, had been arrested on July 3 in connection with a theft in Paikpara.

“He has been booked in connection with case number 198, dated July 3, 2014, at Chitpur police station. The day he was arrested he confessed to the crime and showed us three more houses where he said he had broken in with other members of his gang,” said an officer.

The boy’s family lodged a complaint with the deputy commissioner (north), Bastab Baidya, against officers of Chitpur police station on Friday.

“When we visited him at the police station on July 4, he told us the cops had inserted a wooden stick into his rectum to extract a confession. There were injury marks on his wrists and legs,” alleged the boy’s mother, who works as a domestic help.

She said her son had not been produced before the juvenile justice board though she was a minor. “Born on October 20, 1996, he will turn 18 this year. Since he is a minor, he can’t be kept in a police lock-up,” the mother said.

According to the law, a minor has to be kept in a juvenile home after his/her arrest.

She also claimed that her son had not been produced in court. “We were told that he would be produced in Sealdah court on July 10. We waited outside the court for long but he was not brought. Now we are being told that he had been produced on July 4.”

The police said the accused had been produced in Sealdah court on July 4 and was remanded in police custody till July 14.

Officers claimed there was “nothing illegal” in the boy’s arrest as they had not been shown his birth certificate.

“Had the family produced the birth certificate earlier, there would not have been any confusion. He will be produced before the juvenile justice board on Saturday,” said joint commissioner (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh. He refused comment on the allegations of torture.

Deputy commissioner Baidya said: “I have heard the allegations of torture. The charges are being probed.”

The mother alleged that officers at the police station had “misbehaved” with her when she approached them with her son’s birth certificate on July 4, the day after he had been held.

“They threw away the certificate. They also ignored another document — a copy of a court order asking the police to transfer his custody in connection with a burglary case last year to the juvenile justice board,” she said.

She and her elder daughter submitted the birth certificate and other documents to deputy commissioner Baidya on Friday.

The boy’s lawyer, Biswadip Chatterjee, alleged that he had been arrested from his house without being served with an arrest memo.