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Declared minor, son of RTI activist gets bail after 5 months in jail

The activist, who has been fighting corruption at the local level, had alleged that his son was framed by the people he was trying to unmask, and that they were in league with the local police.

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna | Updated: August 17, 2020 12:11:01 pm
NCRB data: Higher share of Dalits, tribals, Muslims in prison than numbers outsideAt the end of 2019, Dalits made up 21.7% of all convicts in jails across the country.(Representational Image)

A WEEK after The Indian Express reported that the 14-year-old son of an RTI activist in Buxar has been in jail since February after police declared him an adult while arresting him on charges under the Arms Act, the state Juvenile Justice Board has declared the boy a minor, and granted him bail.

The bail order was issued Friday, and the boy is likely to return home Monday.

Following the report published on August 8, Buxar SP Upendra Nath Verma had ordered a probe to find out if local police were responsible for declaring the boy an adult. The boy was arrested while he was returning home after appearing for his Class 10 exams on February 29.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the boy’s father said: “It feels like a dream after a long nightmare. My son will come back to us, finally. He suffered because I am an RTI activist and my queries, especially on MNREGA job cards and procurement of paddy over the last 10 years, had been hurting some people.”

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However, he said, the police action has meant that his son has lost a year in school. “He had scored 83 per cent in the five papers he wrote. He had to appear for his final paper when he was arrested,” the activist said.

Lalan Pandey, the boy’s lawyer, said: “We are very happy that the Juvenile Justice Board heard our case on priority, and declared the boy as a minor after the father submitted an affidavit. We also had the school authority declaring that the boy was born in April 2006.”

Pandey said Buxar Police will now have to “take up the case differently” as the boy cannot face trial.

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The RTI activist had earlier told The Indian Express that his son had hitched a ride with two men from his village on a motorcycle, which was stopped by police in the Rajpur area of Buxar. The police claimed they recovered a country-made pistol from the activist’s son and a live cartridge each from the two men.

The activist, who has been fighting corruption at the local level, had alleged that his son was framed by the people he was trying to unmask, and that they were in league with the local police.

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According to him, he had filed several RTI applications to uncover alleged irregularities in the Bihar government’s flagship scheme, Saat Nischay (on village roads, sanitation and drinking water), MNREGA and paddy procurement by the Primary Agriculture Credit Society (PACS) under the Cooperative Department.

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