Maharashtra is home to the highest number of juveniles who are in conflict with the law.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the state has recorded 7,613 juveniles, who have been charged with various serious offences.
The data shows that theft is the most common crime committed by adolescents, followed by many crimes against women. It has also been learnt that a majority of these youths who are in conflict with the law, come from families with incomes less than Rs. 2,500.
Maharashtra has also recorded the second highest number of female juvenile offenders at 324, where most of the offenders are between 16-18 years of age.
The data shows that a staggering 1,796 youths have been taken into custody under all possible sections for theft under the Indian Penal Code, including auto theft, where 571 persons have been charged.
“We are collaborating with about 8 Mumbai based NGOs and together we will try to rehabilitate and counsel about 4,000 children who have broken the law only once or twice and will try to deter them from becoming habitual offenders,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police for Enforcement, Mahesh Patil.
Patil believes that the prime challenges the police face, against the alarming number, are to counter the social factors that lead the youths to commit crimes.
From the NCRB data, 847 juveniles have been held under various sections for rioting, the second highest numbers were recorded by Kerala at 313.
Violence against women also ranked high amongst the offenses committed by juveniles in Maharashtra.
Apart from rape, for which 226 minors have been held, only second to Madhya Pradesh, 366 youths have been held for crimes such as assaulting women to outrage their modesty, 82 for insulting the modesty of women and 87 others cases of domestic violence.
“They do not commit the offense independently, it is usually done in a group. Very rarely would they commit, especially against a woman, alone. There main offense is always theft,” said Patil.