6 minors booked under POCSO Act
MADURAI: The Madurai rural district police have registered a case of child abuse against six minors, including a girl, in the 9-10 age group, who had fought on the street with five girls and a boy over a quarrel about whose school was better. The five boys and a girl, all Dalits, have been booked under the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, for pelting children with stones, using abusive words and for bodily touch. They have also been booked for wrongful restraint, causing hurt using dangerous weapons and criminal intimidation.
The case pertains to boys from Ulaipatti having picked up a quarrel with some caste Hindu children who had to go through the street where the Dalits live on their way to the other school in Soolaipuram. The Dalit children are studying in a panchayat union school.“The children usually tease each other over the issue of whose school is big,” a police source said.
In one such incident reported on Friday, the boys had pelted one of the girls with stones and later it turned into a fisticuff. When the father of one of the girls lodged a complaint, the police filed a First Information Report (FIR).
To a question on invoking POCSO Act against minor children, the Superintendent of Police, Vijayendra Bidari, said that the Act did not differentiate the accused based on the age. He said the FIR was registered based on the complaint lodged by one of the parents of the “victims.”
“Only The procedure was followed for investigation and filing of the final report is different,” he said.
“Even the children from both sides did not know the names of other children. The complainant identified the children with the names of their father. Since the issue could snowball into a law and order problem in terms of caste differences, we filed the FIR without knowing the age of the children,” he said.