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Police in Srinagar handcuff kids,march them to court,judge says take them off

J&K government officially maintains that no minor boy has been arrested or is in police custody.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
November 3, 2011 2:54:45 am

The Jammu and Kashmir government officially maintains that no minor boy has been arrested or is in police custody. Five days ago,the state cabinet approved the amendments to the Public Safety Act,making 18 the minimum age for arrest under the Act. However,six boys in handcuffs were produced in the court of second munsif Iqbal Masoodi in Srinagar on Tuesday.

The boys had been picked up for allegedly pelting stones. Judge Masoodi asked the policeman who brought them to remove their handcuffs and asked him their age as it was not mentioned in the remand application.

“Janab (Sir),I guess their age is somewhere between 15 and 18,” the policeman said. “Could you write their age on the paper,I want to check if your guess is right,” the judge replied.

Judge Masoodi directed police to send the boys to the juvenile home.

On their way out,Burhan Nazir,a Class VII student,said: “We were severely beaten by police.” As he was being dragged into the police vehicle,he shouted: “They (policemen) abused my sisters,my mother. She died long ago.”

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Shiv Murari Sahai said he was not aware of the case. He,however,added that there was no law that prevented police from handcuffing minors. “Why the judge asked police to remove the handcuffs (of minor boys) is a different issue. Is there any law that says minors should not be handcuffed?” he said. “Also,we will have to first establish whether they are minors or not.”

Burhan Nazir,a student of Government Middle School,Nalbandpora,was arrested on Sunday. “He was on his way to a relative’s home when police picked him,” said his brother Haamid Nazir. “We didn’t know about his arrest. Late in the night,police called us and told us to bring clothes for him to the police station. When I went to the police station,they beat me also.”

Haamid said he was told that his brother was involved in stone-throwing. “They told me that they (police) have his (video) clip. But when I asked them to show the clip,they didn’t,” he said.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had announced general amnesty for stone-throwers and the police claimed that no minor boy had been arrested. However,several minor boys were believed to be in police custody and some had been reportedly brought to their schools in handcuffs for their annual examinations.

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