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Kashmir: Lack of juvenile home makes minors criminals

Srinagar: With rapid increase in the number of minor detainees the Kashmir government has failed to address the problem adequately and these juvenile delinquents are being lodged in jails with hard-core criminals. “They pick up the attitudes and behaviour of the criminals, voluntarily or involuntarily. They develop a rapport with criminals there rather than being rehabilitated,” says sociologist Prof. BA Dabla. At the same time he fears that the children might be exploited and black-mailed at the hands of adult prisoners.

There is almost negligible facility for rehabilitating the juvenile delinquents. With the absence of “homes” or “observatories” these children have no prospect of proper rehabilitation. Kashmir has no such mechanism, though complaints have been made and legal remedies through Public Interest Litigation were also sought but in vain. The court had directed the state government to make adequate arrangements yet nothing has been done so far - neither the juvenile boards, nor juvenile courts have been established hence juvenile homes/observatories remain a distant dream. A petition was filed as early as 2006 to be followed by others yet the situation remains unaltered.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 March 2011 on page no. 18

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