JJ Act violation in Nuh crackdown: 4 minors ‘thrashed’, put in police lock-up or jail

The four have been accused of serious offences linked to the recent violence in Nuh.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
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Presented as ‘19-year-old’

A 17-year-old student of a government school in Nuh was booked as a 19-year-old in two FIRs filed at the Nagina police station on August 5, hours after his arrest from his home. Among the charges against him is an attempt to murder.

After four days in police custody, the Ferozpur Jhirka trial court accepted his class 10 marksheet as proof that he is 17 years old. His case was subsequently shifted to the district Juvenile Justice Board.

However, Nagina SHO Ratan Lal said it was not important to verify his age during the arrest as the “family can provide the age verification proof later before the court”. 

The 17-year-old’s sister told Newslaundry that she was sleeping when the police came to their house on August 5. “I woke up and saw that the police were holding my brother by his collar and thrashing him with lathis. Fearing that they might also beat me, I ran into another room.” She claimed that her brother tried to escape but the police “threatened to shoot him”. 

His mother alleged that the police did not allow her to give food to her son at the police station. “The next day, when I had visited the police station to give him food, he was scared and hungry.”

The suspect from Rajasthan

A 17-year-old from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur spent four days in police custody and 12 days in Salamba jail before he was considered juvenile by the Nuh district court on August 17.

The 17-year-old was arrested on August 1 and booked in a case of attempt to murder and under the Arms Act at the Sadar police station. His family said he was arrested along with his uncles while he was on his way to Tawaru – nearly 60 kilometres away from his home – to the spot where his uncle had parked his truck.

He is a student of class 10 at a private school and was only helping his uncles drive trucks, as he needed the money for EMIs for a mobile phone he had bought for online classes, claimed his family. 

His mother said, “Had my son not had an instalment to pay, he would not have been in jail.”

His uncle alleged “torture”. “He does not have any past criminal record. How can the police arrest him under murder charges?...It leaves a wrong impression of law and order on a child’s mind.”

Advocate Mujeeb Khan, who represented the 17-year-old in court, said, “It took the family one week to produce his juvenile documents…That is why he had to stay in adult jail for two weeks.”

Another minor, same FIR

A 17-year-old class 10 dropout from Nuh, who works as a labourer at a company in Tawaru, was arrested and booked in the same FIR as the Bharatpur teen on August 1. 

After spending three days in police custody, the 17-year-old’s case was transferred to the district Juvenile Justice Board on August 5 after a decision by the Nuh district court.

‘Police didn’t even bother to check,’ says family of fourth suspect

Notably, the 17-year-old labourer from Nuh is a friend of the fourth suspect – a 16-year-old class 10 student who was arrested and booked in a fourth FIR, including similar sections by the Sadar police. 

This 16-year-old was declared a juvenile by the Nuh district court nearly two weeks after his arrest on August 14 – he spent two days in police custody and 11 days in judicial custody in Salamba jail. 

After the violence in Nuh during the yatra on July 31, the 17-year-old had gone to stay at the house of the 16-year-old instead of his home.

The 16-year-old suspect’s mother said the police barged into the house at 4 am on August 1. She alleged that the police abused and thrashed the two minors, and that her three other sons and husband were also arrested. “They did not even care to check that two out of the five are minors.”

Sadar police SHO Krishan Kumar was unavailable for comment at the police station. He disconnected phone calls when asked about the procedure followed by the police in the arrest of three minors in two FIRs. 

A legal aid counsel, who did not wish to be named, said, “The police have arrested many juveniles as adults but…not all of them are able to produce their age verification certificate…They are being severely beaten by the police in custody.”

Advocate Aziz Akhtar, who practises at the Nuh district court, said, “It is the duty of the police to follow the JJ Act…What they do not understand is that it harms these children in the long run. Adult jails are not safe places for minors accused because in them they get exposed to serious criminals which makes them more prone to become serious offenders in future and harms their rehabilitation procedure prescribed under the JJ Act.”

Sudesh Garg, member of JJ Board Nuh, said, “This is a clear violation of the JJ Act because while arresting them the police is bound to verify their age, but they are not sensitive enough about the Act. Not in the Mewat violence cases, but in the other cases, we have scolded the police many times for not following the JJ Act.” 

Garg said it is the responsibility of the police to collect age verification documents. “If they do not do so then the court would not know whether they are minors.” 

Nuh SP Narender Bijarniya denied that the police did not follow provisions of the JJ Act. “Every procedure is being followed. Some of the accused’s families are giving defence to escape from their role. Every accused has been arrested after due verification.”


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