144 children held in Jammu and Kashmir after Article 370 move

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Bhadra Sinha

New Delhi : As many as 144 children, between the ages of 9 and 18 years, were arrested by police in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Juvenile Justice Committee said in a report to the Supreme Court, although it denied that they were being held illegally. Of those arrested 142 were released.

The report is based on the data the panel received from the state police and Integrated Child Protection Services, J&K (ICPS).

A three-judge bench led by Justice NV Ramana is hearing a petition filed by child rights activists, claiming that minors have been arrested under preventive detention law. SC, during the last hearing, asked the HC panel to enquire into the allegations.

The report, a copy of which has been reviewed by HT, says minors as young as 9 and 11 years were detained for creating law and order problem. Children are prone to malicious propaganda without understanding the consequences of indulging in such acts and are being used by vested interests, the panel said, quoting the response of state police.

The report also cited the state police and said many of the allegations regarding the illegal detentions were exaggerated. “It happens often that when minors/juveniles indulge in stone pelting, that they are momentarily held up on the spot and sent home. Some of these incidents are exaggerated beyond proportion,” the panel quoted the police as saying.

“No child has been taken into illegal detention. As and when any report in respect of a juvenile in conflict with law is received, the said juvenile is dealt strictly as per the prescribed law on the subject,” read the report.

Child rights activist Sushmita Dev said, “If children have been detained that it is nothing short of blasphemous vis-a-vis our Constitution and a nation like Indian known for its civil liberties.”

“…140 juvenile detentions in a short period of 2 months is alarmingly and unacceptably high..,”said Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi Since the copy of the report was provided to the petitioners on Tuesday, the court allowed them to file their counter to the same

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