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Police arrest three minors for assaulting autistic man on Rashbehari Avenue

The three minors have reportedly told the police that they were not aware that they were committing a crime, an officer said

Monalisa Chaudhuri And Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 18.07.23, 05:48 AM
Representational image

Representational image

File picture

Three boys, all below 18, were apprehended on Monday for allegedly assaulting a 22-year-old man with autism when he resisted their attempts to force him to dance in public near the crossing of Pratapaditya Road and Rashbehari Avenue on Sunday evening.

The three passed their higher secondary examinations this year and are waiting to join college, police said.


They will be produced before the Juvenile Justice Board on Tuesday.

The man’s parents had on Sunday lodged a complaint with Tollygunge police station saying their son, who has autism, was walking along Rashbehari Avenue when he was accosted by the three near the artery’s intersection with Pratapaditya Road.

The parents wrote in their complaint that their son suffers from autism and has “70 per cent disability”.

Based on their complaint, officers of Tollygunge police station, with the assistance of Chetla police station, initiated a probe to identify the accused.

From CCTV footage and based on the statements of the youth who was allegedly assaulted, the police zeroed in on the three on Monday. All three were known to the youth through a common friend, the police said.

The three minors have reportedly told the police that they were not aware that they were committing a crime, an officer said.

Metro could not contact them or their parents to verify their purported statements to the police.

Many individuals with special needs face bullying and humiliation, often in public. In most cases, the incidents are not reported.

Such persons or their parents fear even greater harassment and humiliation if they opt for legal recourse.

There is also the fear of a social backlash, said many who work with such people.

The police admitted that an assault like the one that the youth was allegedly subjected to on Sunday could have serious consequences.

“It takes a lot of confidence for a young man with autism to become self-reliant and walk alone on the road. Such incidents of attacks or bullying dent their confidence. Hence, we accorded top priority to the case and apprehend the children in conflict with the law,” said an officer at Tollygunge police station.

Organisations working with individuals with disabilities said bullying was “rampant” in institutions and also homes.

“The root cause is the culture of bullying that exists in schools or society where individuals with disabilities are bullied or victimised,” said Indrani Basu, director of Autism Society West Bengal.

“Bullying is not tackled at the source. If there is an instance of bullying in a mainstream school, efforts should be made to call the parents of the children who bully. It is these bullies who grow up to be violent, abusive individuals,” said Basu.

Teachers, too, are not above blame. In mainstream schools, Basu said, teachers often do not feel the need to connect with children with special needs. “They think it is the job of the special educator,” she said.

Such an instance of harassment in the heart of a “cultured Calcutta” could deal a blow to the independence of many individuals with special needs.

In many of the cases, it has been found that the victim has been bullied by people known to him or her. “Individuals with special needs are bullied even by cousins, or extended family members and not just peers,” said Sudeshna Chowdhury, principal of Bhabna Child Development Centre.

“Bullying hampers the psychological health of individuals with special needs and leads to anxiety. Sometimes, it has a long-term impact,” she said.

The police said that in accordance with the protocol in regard to minors in conflict with the law, the three minors were brought to the police station on Monday and kept at a “child-friendly corner”. They were later handed to their parents.

“The parents will have to produce the children before the Juvenile Justice Board on Tuesday,” an officer said.

Last updated on 18.07.23, 10:07 AM

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