Parents lock up boy for 4 months

Parents lock up boy for 4 months

Wanted to keep him away from drug abuse

A 16-year-old boy was kept in a locked room with a barred door and a tiny barred window at his own house for the last four months by his parents. The reason: keeping him from indulging in substance abuse.

According to the child, he had himself asked his parents to lock him up so that he stays away from the company he kept and cannot run away from the house. On Thursday, a neighbour tipped off activists of the NGO Bachpan Bachao Aandolan (BBA) about the boy in the Khajuri Khas home.

The activists found the boy in the small room, with bits of food in a plate, half-eaten chicken or mutton bones and an empty bottle of water lying next to the bed.

After talking with the boy and his parents, they learnt that no one had met him for the last three days. But he was passed food from between the bars on the door. The boy was taken to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Dilshad Garden and produced before a magistrate.

The child was mostly nervous and quiet during the hearing. While he told the BBA activists that he had been locked up for four months, in his statement to the CWC he said he has been in the room for a month.  A BBA official said that most minors change their statements in these circumstances and it is not unnatural.

Even though the boy maintained that he was locked up because of his own wish, the CWC ruled that it was “inhuman” to keep the child confined in these conditions. It directed the child be taken to a rehabilitation centre – Muskaan Foundation in Dwarka – and treated there.  The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2015 protects a juvenile from cruelty and exploitation and makes such bondage unlawful.

The CWC also said that it should be given regular fortnightly updates on the boy. A CWC member said that at the end of the rehabilitation course, the committee can choose to hand over the boy back to his parents, if it deems fitd.

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