Child arrested on Eid day

Srinagar: Twelve-year-old Faizan Sofi, a sixth standard student was arrested on Eid-ul-Fitr last month for allegedly taking part in anti-government protests and burning police vehicles near Eidgah in the old city.

After being produced before the Court, Faizan was sent to a juvenile home at Harwan on the city outskirts. Later, he was granted bail August 28. Police later released a photograph showing him throwing stones at a police vehicle. Denying charges of ill-treatment meted out to Faizan, Superintendent Juvenile Home, Ghulam Ahmed said, “We’ve got good facilities and try to engage children in different works.”

“Police had slapped PSA on him on reasonable grounds and under provisions of the law. Offence is an offence whether committed by a school going child or by any other person,” said Minister for Science and Technology, Aga Syed Ruhullah on the sidelines of a function here September 4.

Countering police accusations against her son, Faizan’s mother, Parveena says he was framed by police to save their skin after they failed to nab the real culprits. “We had to sell our two-rooms to fight the legal battle after Faizan’s arrest.”

Police September 6 said that Faizan wasn’t detained under PSA. Giving details police said Faizan was detained after photographic and video-graphic evidence and sent to a juvenile home. Later, he was released after taking an undertaking from his father.

It has been reported that Faizan was the 124th minor detained in a juvenile home since its inception in 2011. Out of 124 minors, 99 have been detained on charges of stone pelting, five on murder charges, three on rape charges and 17 for theft. A candle light sit-in was staged here by civil society September 1 seeking upgradation of juvenile justice law and an end to juvenile detentions, here.

Two bills — Juvenile Justice Act and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act — are gathering dust over the past two years, with authorities showing no intention of passing them.   

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2012 on page no. 10

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