India

Arrest of three minor school girls in Jharkhand under UAPA, Arms Act, Explosives Act.

Three adolescent school going girls were picked up by the police and presented to the media as naxal women who had been arrested by the police during an encounter with a Maoist squad in the forest near Eiti village. The three girls were later presented in court as adults and remanded to Judicial custody.

On 11th of November we learnt of the arrest on 30th October of 3 girls from Eeti village along with a man.  A press conference had been held by the SP Khunti at the police station on 30th October, where the four persons were produced (enclosing video rec of the press conference, given to us by local journalists).  Two team members met the parents of one of the arrested girls when they (the parents) had come to meet the DIG on 11th in Ranchi. The parents were accompanied by a former school teacher of the girls, who was much disturbed by the arrest and had come to vouch for the girl's innocence and protest against the wrongful arrest since the girl was a juvenile and not an adult. They said that she was 13 and a half years old. The parents had also heard that the girl was very ill and had to be kept in hospital before she was sent to jail.

 

The parents are marginal farmers from Ulihatu, a village that is about 20 kilometers form the main road. It is also famous for being Birsa Munda's village. Juiliyani their daughter was studying in Murhu, on the outskirts of Khunti, a district town 40 kilometers form Ranchi. The parents spoke very little Hindi and conversed mostly in Mundiyari.

 

The parents said that they had heard of the arrest only later when it started coming  in the news. The police had not informed them and they had not been present when the girls were presented before the magistrate. In fact they did not even know whether the girls were presented in court at all, whether an FIR had been filed etc. They only knew that at that moment their daughter was in Khunti jail. They were very distressed and had been running form pillar to post. It was with help of a  journalist following the case, and the school teacher and her husband that they had got come to meet the DIG Police Ranchi.

 

About why their daughter was picked up and under what circumstances, they said-

'Our daughter had gone to see a hockey match with two friends, Jasmani and Magdali. Magdali had relatives in that village and so the girls went over for "mehamani". They were picked up by the police from those people's house."

 

The mother was also very worried because they had been informed by the journalist that he had seen their daughter wrapped up in a blanket and was very ill.

 

The DIG heard the parents and said that they should give in a written application and he would look into the matter. This was on the 11th of November.

 

Observations and concerns

We decided to visit Khunti and village Eeti - from where the girls were reported to have been picked up.  On the 12th evening the team met local reporters and townspeople, and visited the village on the 13th .

According to two local reporters we spoke to on 12th evening, the three girls, jasmani, magdali and Juliyani were from three different surrounding villages.  They were living in Khunti town in rented accommodation (dera in local parlance) and attending school there; all were in class eight.  Two of them - Juliani and Jasmani - stayed together, while the third Magdali stayed with her younger brother.  They told us that all three are below 18 years of age, as per the school records which they had checked.  The three girls had gone to watch a hockey match during the ongoing hockey tournament (25.10.10 to 1.11.10) in nearby Sarvada village, and then stayed with one Paulose in Eeti village, who is the brother-in-law of Magdali Soy.  They were picked up the following day by the police.

 

Police version ( from the S.P's press conference footage and FIR/self statement of the officer who made the arrest)

At the press conference on 30th October the SP reported that that morning they received information about presence of naxalites in the area (Panghu P.S.), to plan land-mining or some major operation (Enclosing video footage of this press conference).  A team of policemen went there around 10.30 AM, and there was an exchange of fire in the forests near Eeti-Pangura villages, wherein the police fired 53 rounds while the naxalites fired more than 100 rounds.  Several items were recovered: cartridges, explosives, and a bag, and the above-mentioned four people were also arrested from the spot.  They were being questioned.

 

The self-statement of the officer-in-charge (O/C) Murhu P.S (S.I. Krishna....... - not very clear in photocopy) recorded on 30th October gives more details of the incident.   According to this statement written in Gudukocha forests near Eeti village, on the morning of 30th October when he was at the police station he received secret information that an armed group of 10-15 MCC cadres including some women, all belonging to the Kundan Pahan group, were in the area, planning to lay land-mines in the road under Murhu thana area and conduct some major operation.  Paulose Purti of Eeti village was sheltering them and was also active himself.  After recording this in the thana diary a team was constituted to verify this and take necessary action, and this team of 10 armed police left for Eeti village.

 

"Around 9.00 A.M. when we were proceeding north from Baredih tola, making enquiries along the way, we saw some people move ahead of us.  As we moved quickly towards them, there was firing at us. About 14-15 people were firing at us, of which about 10 were in black and there were some women too.  We immediately took safe positions and loudly warned them that we were policemen and that they should surrender.  However, they continued to fire at us, at which we also fired back, after I told my men to observe controlled firing for self-defense.  When we started firing, they slowly started retreating into the forests behind them.  There was intermittent firing from both sides for nearly an hour.  In the meanwhile more police support reached us.  On seeing more armed police arrive the 'ugravadis' fled into the jungle.  With the support of the armed police search operation was undertaken.  During this search the above mentioned four people were found hiding.  On questioning they said that they belonged to the MCC (Maoists) Kundan Pahan group; and that they had come to that area 'to expand their activities, to put pressure on the police, and to conduct some major operation there to place land-mines on the roads; they also had to kill some person.  After this encounter 11 people (names of 6 given) of their group ran away.  That Paulose Purti, brother-in-law of ugravadi Vishwas Mundu, gave us shelter and food'.  As there was no independent witness available in the jungle, two of the armed police personnel were made witness to the arrest and search of Paulose Purti.   The following items were found on him: (i) from the left pocket of his half pant seven live cartridges of INSAS rifles; (these cartridges were of prohibited bore); and (ii) 28 packets of Power Gel explosives from his shoulder bag.  Paulose could not produce any papers, nor gave any satisfactory reply, in connection with the possession of these cartridges and explosives.  On the contrary, he said that they were going to use the explosives for land mining.  Clearly, they were possessing arms illegally; hence these items were confiscated from them in presence of the two witnesses.  A copy of the list of confiscated items was given to Paulose and his signature taken.  The four of them were arrested on charges of possessing illegal arms after making the arrest warrant as per procedure.  In this encounter the ugravadis fired 150 rounds while the police fired 53 rounds from INSAS rifles.  It is my contention (dava in Hindi) that the above four arrested people and those who escaped had been set by the banned MCC (Maoists) to obstruct the official tasks of the police, and to fire upon us with the intention to kill.  Further they were in possession of prohibited cartridges and explosives.  Therefore, I am charging Paulose Purti, Jasmani alias Phumlani Soy, Juliani Purti, Mariam alias Magdali Mundu, Vishwas Mundu, Nirmal Soy, Aamuru Soy, Marthal Mundu, Neeraj, Krish, and five other unnamed persons, under Sections 147/148/149/353/307 of IPC, 25[1A] /26(2)/27 of Arms Act, 3/4 of Explosive Substances Act, and 10/20/19/38 of UAP Act 1967 as amended in 2008, and submitting self-statement (swabayan)".

 

(A photocopy of this statement of the O/C, in Hindi, is enclosed)

 

 

 

 

The version from the village visit

On 13th morning in Eeti village we met Karuna, wife of the arrested Paulose Purti in her hut.  According to her, Paulose was chopping wood in the school (there is a school in the village about a kilometer away) when he was taken away by the police.  When asked about the three girls, she said that she was not at home when they came to her house on Friday; so they went to another person's house in the village, from where they were picked up.  Karuna had gone to the police station the day after they were arrested (31st Sunday),and once again later to meet Paulose.  She says the first time she could not meet her husband neither was she told why her husband was picked up. She did not have papers with her regarding Paulose's arrest, what the charges were etc. She said she met and spoke to Paulose in the police station, the second time.

 

We met the members of the house from where the girls were supposed to have been picked up.  It was the house of three brothers - Isaac Samad, Paulose Samad, and Marshal Samad.  Their wife told us that the girls were brought to their house by Paulose Purti. And they were staying with them. They were helping in the cooking, when they were picked up from the house.

 

The men told us that on the day of this incident they were working in the fields, and they heard some firing. Soon after that the police fell upon them and started beating them up because they could not tell the names of the girls.  The police was asking for Paulose, and as one of  them bore the name Paulose he was beaten up.  They were then taken way by the police along with the girls and Paulose Purti to the police station on 30th.  One of them was beaten up at the police station too; the three were let off on 1st November.

 

According to them a hockey match was going on in the village and the three girls had come to their house on Friday 29th , and said that they would spend the night there ('mehmani karne aaye'), and so they let them stay on; the police came and arrested them the following morning.We were told that Paulose Purti had brought these girls.

 

The girls  were all in the hut with family when they heard some firing in the forest. It was after the firing the police arrived to pick up the girls. They also reported that at the same time a relative of theirs, who was a hockey player participating in the tournament, was staying in their house.  His bag and the purses of the men of the house was taken away by the police. The police also took some of their implements like spade, axe, etc.

 

On talking to other people in the village too, it was confirmed that the police had sized things form peoples' houses during the search but was showing completely diffrent things in their seizure report. No proper panchanama was made of any of the objects sized from the village. The villagers were themselves making a list to be submitted to the police of all that had been taken by the police.

 

Observations and concerns

This version clearly contradicts the police report.  While the poice version says that they were picked up from  the site of the alleged encounter in the forest, talking to this family and others indicates that they were picked up from the village.

If the police found the girls and Paulose in the forest during the encounter with the maovaadis, then why were they looking for Paulose in the village, and why did they pick up the other man also named Paulose and his brothers too.

 

Meeting with the SP and the school teachers and hospital staff on the 18th of November

The second time that the team visited Khunti was on the 18th along with two members of the PUCL. The girls were still in jail. And we were informed that after the first visit of the team the

electronic media been raising the issue of the girls being minors.

Two of the team members verified the details later with the respective schools and talked to some teachers.   We met the teachers of Jasmani and Juliyani.  They vouched that they attended school regularly, and were not absent for long periods. There were no indications of engagement with a lot of activity outside school.

 

Jasmani who is the oldest among the three was described both by her headmistress and class teacher as an obedient and hardworking child. She was also described as a child who was "slow" in understanding things. She was the one who did most of the work for the teachers and there was nothing in her behavior that would point towards the fact that she would be involved in any activity that demanded to much of her attention. The teacher said that they could not imagine her being involved in activities that she was being charged with.   The teachers said they got to know about the arrest of the girls only after it was flashed in the news and their name started floating in rumors.

On being asked if the schools took any action on behalf of the students they said they had not.done so.   The school on its own did not take up the issue of the students being minors.

 

They also informed the us that the police had come on the morning of our visit (18th nov) and taken photocopies of the school records.

 

Visit To Government hopital Khunti

On meeting with the hospital staff and checking the hospital records we found-

At the time of their arrest Juliyani was very ill and was admitted to the hospital that evening with malarial fever.  According to the hospital records (inpatient register entry) she is thirteen and half years of age.  She was ill and very scared. The nurses who we spoke to said though the girl was very scared and ill she did not have any physical injuries. She was extremely frightened by her arrest and all the parading by the police.

 

They also said that she informed them of the age that was filled in the register.  She also told them that she was a student of St Mary's school. They also said that by this time every one knew that they were students from schools in Murhu.

 

Meeting with the SP

The SP denied that he had any information or inkling at the time of the arrest that they were minors.

When asked why he did not verify the ages of the girls, he said it was not his job. He confirmed that one girls was ill and was admitted for a night in the hospital on the day the arrest was made.

 

When the team asked him why nothing had been done now that everyone, including the police knew that they were school girls, he said they were waiting for the parents. When asked whether the police had informed the parents, he said it was not his job.  According to him the police is not expected to inform the family; and moreover the villages of the girls family are very remote villages and They  would have to go in with force.  When told about the D.K.Basu guidelines, the SP finally acceded that they would send information through the village chowkidar.

The SP told us - 'In the past week your team and the news channels were raising this issue', and that the police was looking at it. He said that a DSP had investigated the issue and taken the school records that morning (18th November) to the court but the judge had turned it down saying it was a judicial matter now.

 

The SP informed us that the judge had said that the girls had also given their ages as 18 and nineteen. And therefore now only if the parents were to give an application to the court they would be sent for a bone test.

Observatons and Concerns

The girls had given their full addresses and also this could have been easily confirmed form the school.  Yet, the parents of two girls had not been informed by the police till the 18th November when the team met the SP regarding the arrests.  This is in clear violation of the DK Basu guidelines, and it was very important that the parents be informed considering that the girls were minors.

Further, according to him the police recorded their ages as above 18 as they looked like adults, and hence no efforts were made to ascertain their correct age. While even the  hopital records  show  Juliyani's age as 13 and a half. It has to be noted that it was the police that had admitted her in  the hospital. Therefore they were aware of her age.

 

The Version of the three arrested girls

The girls told one of the members, a Ranchi-based lawyer,  who met them on 22nd November that they reported their ages as above 18 as the police told them to do so - they were told that they would be shifted to Ranchi if they said they were below 18.  Hence there seems to be a false reporting of age by the three girls under pressure. The SP himself in his talk with us said that it was quite possible that even the youngest girl Juliyani, who clearly is and looks a child also must have told the judge that she was 18 or above for fear that she would be separated form the other girls and be sent to Ranchi.

 

The girls said that they had gone to Eeti to watch the football match. They reached Eeti on 29th October, at 4:00 PM in the evening. The three of them had come to visit with  Paulose and his wife, who was a relative of one of the girls. They were arrested from the house on 30th October at about 10:00 AM. The girls state that the police beat them up in the house, and questioned them if they were Maoists. Despite their desperate pleas that they were not maoists, and that they were school going girls and had come to Eeti to watch the match, the police arrested them. At the police station the police told them that if they said they were below 18 they would be sent to Ranchi and hence it was best to say they were all above 18.

Issues in this arrest

We came across different versions of how and where the girls were arrested from.  These arrests raise several serious issues, as listed below:

 

-          The girls are clearly below 18 years of age and rather than abiding by the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, their age has been falsified and they are still languishing in jail.

 

-          The hostility of the SP when this issue of their being below 18 was pointed out, and his response that they will contest this matter when it comes up, and go for bone-test, etc.  In other words, his attempt to defend his action of showing them as adults when in reality they are minors.

-          Violation of the rules laid down following arrests, such as informing family members.  As of 19th November, more than two weeks after their arrest, the SP said that it was not their duty to inform them, and that he was waiting for the parents to come and file an application.

 

-          The DK basu guidelines clearly states that at the time of arrest someone other than the police has to be a witness to the arrest as well as seizures. In this case the arresting officer has written in his report that since the accused were arrested form the forest, there were no independent witnesses, hence two policemen have signed as witness. But the police did come to the village and also picked up men form there . The bag was also seized form the house in the village. They could have asked a villager to be a witness form the village . But that was not done.

 

-          The interaction with the teachers indicates that the girls were attending school regularly, and therefore could not possibly have been moving with the Maoists squads.

 

-          According to the police statement the arms were recovered from the pocket and bag of the accomanying man. It does not mention anything about the items carried by or recovered from the three girls.  Then why have they been charged under the Arms Act, Explosives Act?

 

-          In their media conference the police spoke of the girls as naxali mahila, when clearly even they knew that they were girls and that was how the media also reported it in the beginning.

 

-          Media coverage -  At the press conference the SP produced the arrested four persons in front of the audience, referring to them as belonging to a certain 'Kundan Pahan"' faction.  Although their faces were covered, yet is this necessitated?  Why should the young girls be publicly maligned even before any legal procedures have even begun?

 

-          No media person had actually gone to Eti village to verify the police version nor was there any report of the people who were beaten up by the police. The people in the village were saying that they had drawn up a list refuting the zapti chalan of the police (list of confiscated items). But that was not reported.  The journalists also admitted that most of the news that they got was from the SP's press conferences. That most of the news and facts about these encounters were coming from the police.

 

Given the above facts and circumstances, Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression, would like the NCPCR to:

 

  1. Investigate why the girls were shown to be above 18 and not sent to the Juvenile Justice Board. The NCPCR should meet the children, investigate in Eeti, and Murhu PS.
  2. Intervene in and expedite the process of transferring the three girls from Khunti jail to the charge of the JJB.
  3. The police should be held accountable for arresting these girls as adults and not following the procedures as per the DK basu guidelines as well as the Juvenile Justice Act.
  4. Undertake an inquiry into the very arrest of the girls and charging them with Sec 302 and such draconian laws such as the UAPA, and Arms and ExplosivesAct.
  5. In the absence of any strong evidence linking the girls to the crimes they have been charged with, the charges should be dropped and the girls should be released and united with their families.
  6. Review the status of implementation of the JJA, especially in the current situtaion where there is an intensification of Operation Greenhunt in several districts of Jharkhand.

II. Other Issues relating to violation of child rights in Jharkhand

 

Apart from the specific case of the arrest of school going minors in Khunti district, we came across some other issues involving and adversely affecting children in parts of Jharkhand.  We wish to bring them to the attention of the NCPCR.

 

-          Four boys who had gone to pick mahua in the early hours of 19.03.09 in Saramgoda forest, Sirka village, Murhu, were fired upon by a police party.  While one boy died on the spot two others were injured.  This incident was reported and local parties took up the issue of compensation.  (Enclosing photocopy of statement by one of the injured boys, Gangu Munda).

-          A news report of 26th July 2010 titled "Hardcore naxali Rajani escapes from remand home".  According to this report Rajani who was a naxalite and another girl were arrested from Sonua thana in September 2009 for possessing naxali literature.They were in Devghar remand home, from where they were reported to have escaped.  (Enclosing copy of news report Dainik Jagaran 26 July 2010).

-          In some areas such as Tamar, Bundu, the police has said that girls should be attired in school uniforms or sari only, and not wear salwar kameez, as they can run into the jungles if they are in salwar kameez.

-          We were specifically told that with the coming of a CRPF camp in Bhandariya in Garhwa movement of girls had been affected.  Girls have gradually stopped going to school.

-          Young people - boys and girls - being arrested and harassed under Operation Greenhunt.

-          Impact on schools - local activists had taken up the issue of nearly 50 schools that had been occupied by security forces, and some have been vacated.  However, according to newspaper reports the main CRPF camp is stationed at the ITI Tamar, because of which the building has not been handed over to the Tatas, who will be running this ITI.  We were also told that in Netrahat, Latehar district a residential school for tribal girls was being used as a CRPF camp. (We could not verify this ourselves).

 

Given such a situation in several districts of Jharkhand, WSS places this demand that NCPCR undertake a comprehensive investigation/hearing into the conditions of children in the Operation Green Hunt districts of Jharkhand, and to specifically inquire into issues such as:

 

(i)                 the functioning of schools in the villages;

(ii)               arrests and/or harassment of children for acts such as possessing 'naxalite literature' etc.,

(iii)             Situation of children in jails and remand homes.

(iv)             The NCPCR should also institute investigations in all the Operation Greenhunt areas spread across five states into such instances of child rights violations.

 

NCPCR should initiate take appropriate steps based on the findings of such investigations.

Team Members-

Sharanya Nayak, HumAnE, Koraput,

Rajni .........., Advocate, HRLN, Ranchi,

Rinchin, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Bhopal,

Pyoli Swatija, Advocate, Delhi,

Madhuri,Jagrut Adivasi Dalit Sanghathan, Badwani,

Indira Chakravarthi, Public Health Researcher, Delhi

details of the girls

The details of the girls are as follows:

 

1. Jasmani Soy

D/o Mansid Soy

R/o vill- Narang P. S. Arki

Distt- Khunti

Attended Rajkiya Buniyadi Vidyalaya, and as per her school record her date of birth is 25.7.94.

 

2. Magdali Mundu

D/o Amus Mundu

Vill- Maiel Piri

P. S. Arki

Distt- Khunti

Attended Utkramak Rajkiya Vidyalaya, Suranda, and as per her school record, her date of birth is 12.3.1996

 

3. Juliyani Purty

D/o Asiyan Purty

Vill- Ulihatu

P. S.- Arki

Distt- Khunti

Attended St Mary's School and her date of birth is 13.5.1996 as per school records.

Annex-1 letter to NCPCR

annex -2 letter issued by CPCR to collceter khunti

annex-1

Letter to Dr Shanta Sinha Chairperson Of The National Comission For Protection of Child Rights by WSS                                                                                                                                     14/12/2010

To

Dr. Shanta Sinha

National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights

New Delhi,

Dear Madam,

We are writing to you on behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is network of individuals and women's organizations and human rights organizations from across India. It is a non-funded effort initiated by women, and is concerned with atrocities and repression against women by state and non-state actors, specially in conflict zones. We have recently conducted a  fact finding to investigate the situation of women in Jharkhnad under operation green hunt. While we were focusing on women's issues we also came across  cases of child rights violations.

There is a specific case of where three young girls have been arrested and are being kept in jails and tried in adult courts, in spite of them being school going children and it being very easy for the local police and courts to verify their age.

In Khunti district of Jharkhnad on the 30th of October three young school going girls, the youngest of them being thirteen and a half were arrested allegedly from the site of an encounter between the police and a Maoist squad. The girls are from interior villages and are studying in schools near the district headquarters. Through visits to the school we could verify their ages. the girls were presented at a press conference as naxal women by the SP and then produced in court where they were remanded to judicial custody.

This was in itself disturbing because if there were strong indications that the girls were minors and were arrested as adults and its is a clear violation of the juvenile justice act.

The fact that no immediate action was taken even when there were witnesses vouching for the fact that the girl was a student and verification of age could be done immediately through school records. No immediate action was being taken to redress this.

Also by speaking to the villagers from where the girls were arrested, we were able to gather facts that contradict the police version. The police has no witnesses but them selves to show that the girls were arrested from the place of encounter.  The girls have been charged under UAPA, Arms act, Explosives Act etc. Whereas there seems to be no clear connection linking them to such serious offenses.

Moreover The police had made no effort to inform the parents/ family of the girls. No family members were present when the girls were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody and sent to Khunti jail..The parents of one of the girls who are tribals from interior villages were highly distressed and had come to know of the girls whereabouts only after they made their own inquiries and through other sources.They had no papers of the charges made by the police or the procedure that took place in court.

As per our knowledge the girls are still languishing in jail. It is now more than a month that they were arrested.

Such incidences of arrest of young children during search and combing operations  with out substantial or concrete evidence linking them to any violent act were also observed by a team that had gone to investigate a case of rape of 20 year old girl in Gajapati district, Orrisa, by security forces in combing operations and  police raids. here the woman was arrested along with her brother who is a juvenile. The only reason on which they seem to have been arrested is that their family members are Alleged Maoist. In this case too it is the family members who have to run from pillar to post to find their children and find out where they were. The police did not give them any information about their whereabouts after picking them. It was left to the parents to trace their children to police thana's and jails.

We were extremely disturbed by this violation of child's rights and even more by the fact a that in these conflict area's it is so common place. The fact that children are being picked up questioned , detained and arrested in complete violation of the juvenile justice act. Even the DK Basu guidelines are not adhered to.And that the police and local administration is doing very little about it even after it is being brought to their notice. The lack of hue and cry about such violations is frightening. Most often the police uses the the presence of naxal activity in these regions as an excuse for these violations.

We feel that in these extreme conditions it is even more imperative that the police follows procedures of arrest and ensuring the rights of children in custody.

It is also imperative that that children are not charged under draconian laws without substantial proof . Because such charges ensures long incarceration without bail in most cases.

We would want to apprise you about this and also of the specific cases that were investigated so that  immediate action on specific cases can be taken. And on a larger level the issue about the child prisoners in these conflict areas gets attention. We also have detailed fact finding reports on some of these cases that we would like to give you.

Therefore we would request you to please grant us an appointment at the earliest convenient

hoping to receive a positive reply form you and to be able to meet with you.

With Regards

Indira Chakravarti and Rinchin

on Behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression.

Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) is network of individuals and women's organizations and human rights organizations from across India. It is a non-funded effort initiated by women, and is concerned with atrocities and repression against women by state and non-state actors, specially in conflict zones.

 

Annex -2

 

Letter issued by the NCPR to the Collector Khunti.

Letter No.- JH-12016/19683/2010-11/COMP                                                          Date: 15 /12/2010

 

 

 

To
Shri Rakesh Kumar , I.A.S,

District Collector
Khunti
Jharkhand

Fax No-06528-221665

Sub:    Three school going girls have been arrested under UAPA, Arms Act, Explosives Act and kept in jails in Khunti District of Jharkhand.

Sir,
I am directed to say that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has been constituted under the provisions of the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 for protection of child rights and other related matters. One of the functions assigned to the Commission under Section 13 (1) (j) of CPCR Act is to inquire into complaints and suo motu cognizance in relation to deprivation and violation of child rights.

The Commission has received a complaint from Smt. Indira Chakravarti and Rinchin on behalf of Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) regarding three girls of School near the district headquarters of Khunti District of Jharkhand who have been allegedly arrested on 30th October 2010 and sent to jail (copy enclosed). The girls were arrested from the site of an encounter between the Police and a Maoist squad. The girls have been charged under UAPA, Arms Act, and Explosives Act etc and kept in jails. Three of these girls were arrested being treated as adults without verification of their age and then produced in Court where they were remanded to judicial custody and sent to Khunti jail.

 

The Commission has taken a very serious note of the violations of involved in the above mentioned case

 

As per Section 10 of the Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2000, such juveniles should have been placed in the charge of Special Juvenile Police Unit or Juvenile Welfare Officer police officer designated in concerned Police Station under Section 63 of JJ Act who in turn had to produce such juveniles before the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) having jurisdiction over the area without any loss of time but within a period of 24 hours of their apprehension (excluding journey period).  Under Section 49 of the said Act, it is the JJB which is the competent authority to determine the age of a juvenile in conflict with law as per the procedure laid down under Rule 12 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules 2007.  Such Juveniles, pending inquiry, should have been lodged in an observation home and not in a jail.  However, the complaint speaks otherwise.

 

In view of the above, the following actions need to be taken on priority basis in the above matter and a report, containing the facts and circumstances of the case as well as the remedial actions taken, is submitted to this Commission within seven days by fax/e-mail followed by post:

 

(i)                 The Juveniles in question must be produced before the JJB having Jurisdiction within 24 hours (if the same has not yet been done);

(ii)               The age determination of the Juveniles may be completed immediately (if the same has not yet been done) as per Section 49 of the J.J. Act 2000 and Rule 12 of the Central J.J. Rules, 2007;

(iii)             The Juveniles may be sent to an Observation Home (if they have not yet been sent) and must not be allowed to be in the jail, pending inquiry by the concerned JJB:

(iv)             In the light of Article 20 of the Constitution of India and Section 13 of the JJ Act, 2000 the parents/guardian of the Juveniles must be informed about the grounds of their arrest and the place where they have been lodged, so as to facilitate their interfacing;

(v)               The Juveniles must be provided with adequate Legal Aid (if they have not yet been provided with) as per rule 14 of the Central J.J. Rules, 2000;

(vi)             It must be ensured that their education (if they were school going) do not get disrupted due to their confinement but continues unhindered.  The loss of their education must be compensated in terms of the provision of text Books, note Book, test papers, sample questions, tuition, etc. by the joint effort of the Superintendent of the Observation Home, District Social Welfare Officer, District Education Officer and District Programme Coordinator under the overall supervision of the District Collector.

 

This issues with the approval of the Chairperson, NCPCR.

 

Encl. -as above

 

 

Sd/-

(B.K. Sahu)

Registrar, NCPCR

 

Copy to for information & necessary action:

1.      Superintendent of Police, Khunti District, Jharkhand (Fax: 06528-221660).

2.      Principal Magistrate, Juvenile Justice Board, Khunti, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

3.      Shri Rajeev Arun Ekka,  Secretary, Department of Social Welfare (SW) & Women and Child Development (WCD), Govt. of Jharkhand, Ranchi (Fax: 0651-2400758, Ph: 0651-2400757)

 

 

Sd/-

(B.K. Sahu)

Registrar, NCPCR