114 children arrested since August 5: J&K Juvenile Committee tells Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir Juvenile Justice Committee on Tuesday submitted a report to the Supreme Court stating that 144 juveniles, including children aged nine and 11, were arrested since August 5 after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

After the curfew measures were imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of revocation of Article 370, the committee's report said that juveniles were arrested but no child is under illegal detention in the Valley.

The report mentioned that some of the children were released on the same day of arrest, while the rest were proceeded as juveniles in conflict with law under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013.

The report of the Committee while citing the report submitted to it by the Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police, stated, "The State Machinery have been constantly upholding the rule of law and not a single juvenile in conflict with the law has been illegally detained."

"The specific allegations made in the petition have not been corroborated from the information received from the field formations. The individual cases where it is alleged that in violation of law the juveniles have been picked up by the Police and lodged in Police lock-ups have been found not factually correct," DGP report stated, said the Committee.

It said the DGP has refuted the media reports saying such reports generated with the intention to "malign police" and to create the story which may have an element of "sensationalism" and "imagined from thin air".

The committee while quoting DGP's report, stated, "It happens often that when minors/juveniles indulge in stone-pelting, they are momentarily held up on the spot and sent home. Some of these incidents are exaggerated beyond proportion."

The report of four-member Committee, headed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court judge Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, was submitted to the Supreme Court's bench of Justice NV Ramana, Justice R Subash Reddy and Justice BR Gavai, hearing matters relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Supreme Court on September 20 had asked the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to look into and submit a report on the allegations of illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of abrogation of Article 370, raised in a PIL before the apex court.

The PIL was filed before the apex court by eminent child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly, and Professor Shanta Sinha, the first Chairperson of the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR).

The Committee said that it called for a report from Mission Director, Jammu and Kashmir Child Protection Society (JKCPS) about the status in the two observation homes in the Jammu and Kashmir - one in Harwan, Srinagar and the other in RS Pora, Jammu.

The committee annexed the reports of police and JKCPS without expressly endorsing or disputing their contents.

The petition filed in the apex court has stated that the Children in the Kashmir valley have been regularly detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

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