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DGP: Cops dont know how to treat children

August 27, 2011

Ushinor Majumdar

Ushinor.Majumdar@hindustantimes.com

Ranchi: Street children have to look out for themselves as Jharkhand police are not trained to deal with them and end up ill-treating them.

A few minutes before midnight on Monday, 10-year-old Hari who lives on the streets of Ranchi, was rummaging amongst rubbish looking for bits of waste paper to sell for his daily sustenance.

A night patrol tried to bully him into staying off the streets at nights by scaring him with the officially-distributed policeman’s stick. Pedestrians had to intervene in order to help the child.

The policemen claimed that they are trying to help these children by scaring them to keep them away from stealing to sustain their substance-abuse habits.

One of the policemen claimed, “Check his sack. There will be dendrite in it.”

Hari said, “This happens often. We run when we see or hear the police patrol vehicles.” He stays near Albert Ekka Chowk.

J S Rath – director general of police – told Hindustan Times, “Cutting edge programmes are required for sensitisation as, unfortunately, police officers are not aware of how to deal with street children.”

Rath added, “The synergies between the police, juvenile justice board (JJB) and child welfare committees (CWC) has to be increased and we have started some programmes to this effect.”

“This state is hit by left wing extremism and police officers prioritise such crimes, but they have to realise that this is as important and the situation must be treated with utmost care.”

The JJB and the CWC are the bodies formed under the Juvenile Justice Act for dealing with children “in conflict with the law” and those who are “in need of care and protection” respectively.

However, the police officers do not seem to be aware of this as even Rober Minz – the joint secretary of the social welfare department – admitted to having been told by rescued children that “we are arbitrarily picked up and even handcuffed.”

Minz told HT, “Handcuffing minors is not allowed and we have strictly instructed that if police officers apprehend any street children for offences, they should first produce them before the JJB.”

Minz added that this is an individual problem of some officers and not everyone is similar “,but, yes, there has to be more awareness of how to treat children.”

EOM

HT JHK Aug 24

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