Minor's arrest draws flak

Amnesty flays J&K cops for treating 16-yr-old as adult

Amnesty International on Friday expressed concern over detention of a minor by the Jammu and Kashmir police, and called for his immediate release.

In a statement, the NGO said authorities in J&K have arbitrarily detained 16 year-old Danish Farooq, and are treating him as an adult rather than a child.

“AI calls on the J&K police to end Farooq’s arbitrary and unlawful detention, and either release or produce him immediately before a magistrate. If a court decides that he has to remain in detention, Farooq must be moved to a juvenile detention home,” the AI statement said.

“He should be granted all safeguards and protections guaranteed to children by the CRC, and judicial proceedings must go forward in accordance with international human rights law,” said the statement released from Bangalore.

“He should also be granted, without delay, access to his family, and they should be kept informed of his whereabouts and condition, as well as access to a lawyer of his family’s choice,” it added.

Stone pelter
However, police said Farooq is a notorious stone pelter and he was produced before a court after his arrest.

“We arrested a notorious stone pelter, Danish Farooq Wani, and presented him before court.

The stone pelter is involved in a number of stone pelting incidents, including a petrol bomb attack for which an FIR was filed against him with Kral Khud police station,” a police spokesperson said.

“The accused was arrested and presented before the court of the sub-registrar, Srinagar. As per the records of the Board of School Education, the date of birth of the accused is 6 June, 1996. The court remanded him to police custody for not being a minor,” he added.

The J&K Juvenile Justice Act (JJA), 1997, treats boys above 16 years as adults, in violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child  and international human rights law. Amendments to the JJA are being discussed by the J&K Legislative Assembly.

If these amendments are successful, all persons below 18 years will be treated as juveniles. However, AI has asked the state government to amend the JJA to conform with the UNCRC.

Case background

Farooq was first arrested on November 19 under sections 152, 138, 148, and 147 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC). All charges relate to incidents of “stone-pelting”.

After three days of detention, he was produced in court, which ordered his release on bail. But he was re-arrested on November 23 under sections 307, 285 and 336 of the RPC for “attempt to murder” for his alleged involvement in a petrol bomb attack.

According to latest reports, he is in police custody and it is unclear when he will appear before a local court in Srinagar. 

Farooq’s family said they have been denied the right to meet him or talk to him.

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