The Lucknow Police arrested a 14-year-old boy under the Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act,booked him under the National Security Act,and sent to jail where he has been for the past eight months. On Tuesday,the Lucknow Juvenile Justice Board declared him a minor and directed that he be shifted to the observation home immediately.
The board arrived at the decision after examining the boys school record,where his date of birth is recorded as July 13,1995,which makes him less than 14 years old.
His advocate Nusrat Jamal said he produced the boys records from the New Bal Bharti Montessori School,where he had studied up to Class IV before moving to a madrasa. The board summoned the school officials,who verified the documents, he said.
Every case for detention under NSA is initiated by the investigating officer and is processed by the local Superintendent of Police,the district magistrate and the Home Department,before its approval by the NSA advisory board. Apparently,all of them missed the facts in this case.
Investigating Officer Panna Lal who had initiated proceedings for the boys detention under NSA on the ground that if he got bail,it could disturb peace and communal harmony was not available for comments.
Lucknow District Magistrate Chandra Bhanu,however,said NSA was a preventive act and,to the best of my knowledge,NSA can also be imposed on a juvenile.
Principal Secretary,Home,Kunwar Fateh Bahadur said he could comment on the matter later,while Lucknow DIG N K Srivastava said: I dont know much about the case,but if the NSA is imposed,the person has to be produced before the advisory board. We only send the report.
The boy was arrested on August 12 when the police received a tip-off that some residents of Kakori had kept cows for slaughter. The police raided the place,found seven cows tied to an electric pole and arrested five persons,including the boy.
All of them were declared adult and the police sent them to Lucknow jail. The age of the boy was mentioned to be around 19 years, said advocate Jamal.
The boys mother Firdaus said her son had,as usual,gone to the madrasa that day. When he did not return home till evening,we started looking for him. Late in the evening,one of my neighbours told me that perhaps the police had picked him up, she said.
She went to the police station along with other family members and found him there,said Firdaus,whose husband Habib is a daily wage earner. She said her son,on way back from the madrasa,had stopped there to watch TV,when the police raided the place and arrested him. Next day,the boy was sent to jail.
An official said that doctors at the jail hospital conducted a medical examination on him and declared that his age was 17 years.
The boy was,therefore,sent to minors section of the jail. A couple of days later,the family moved an application before the Lucknow Chief Judicial Magistrate with school documents,stating that the boy was juvenile and should,therefore,be moved out of jail. The court forwarded the application to the Lucknow Juvenile Justice Board.
In the meantime,Investigating Officer Panna Lal moved a case for invoking NSA against the boy. The case travelled through the usual channels,without anyone raising questions over the police story.
The police have filed chargesheets against all five persons arrested. The other four are Shabbir,Usman,Raju and Shakir. Apart from the boy,NSA has been imposed against Shabbir too.