SRINAGAR: A 9-year-old boy has been detained in police station Hajin for the last eight days, notwithstanding J&K high court’s direction earlier this month that no child should be lodged in the police station not even in “extreme adverse circumstances”.
The boy, Zubair Ahmad, son of Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, was arrested on August 15 near an army school in the area after stone pelting in the area.
He was immediately handed over to police, but despite requests by his family, the police has refused to release him.
“We plead before the police everyday but the station house officer declines to release him saying he will be released soon,” Shamima, the boy’s mother, told Kashmir Reader.
She said that her son has been kept by the SHO in his room, but “it still has adverse impact on his health and psyche”.
“He is just 9-years of age and one can image the impact on him due to the continuous detention,” Shamima said. “How can a mother bear separation from his tender age son? Police officers too have kids. Can they bear it?” she said, and pleaded for Zubair’s release.
His 80-year-old grandfather also visits the police station daily and asks the police to arrest him but release “my zub (Zubair’s nickname)”.
“We have assured police that we will ensure that he will not repeat the mistake of pelting stones which he might have done inadvertently out of sheer childish manner,” said Mohammad Maqbool, the grandfather of Zubair. The family alleged that the police have told them that they will release the boy only when his father appears before it so that “we will lodge him in police station.”
“What kind of logic is this? Why should they arrest father in place of son who is just a kid,” the family said and urged the higher authorities to intervene and see the boy is released forthwith.
Section 83 of Ranbir Penal Code provides that nothing is an offence which is done by the child above 7 years of age and under 12, who has not attained the sufficient maturity of understanding to judge the nature of consequences of his conduct on that occasion.
Citing same section of the RPC, the high court earlier this month observed that the child was to be dealt with in accordance of Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2013 and cannot be lodged in police station.
Subsequently, it had ordered the release of an 8-year-old boy from Pulwama who was arrested by police along with 80 other persons in the south Kashmir district.
“Ours is a society governed by rule of law. Even in extreme adverse circumstances, this Court is duty bound to enforce law of land…. The child cannot be lodged in the police station,” the court had said and directed senior superintendent of Police, Pulwama to handover the custody of the 8-year-old boy to his mother forthwith. After high court’s intervention, the boy was later released.
When contacted, superintendent of police, Bandipora, Sheikh Zulfikar, said that he would look into the matter and requested Kashmir Reader to call him back after sometime.
However, despite attempts, the officer did not pick up the phone later.