Violence erupted at a juvenile home yet again when 33 young offenders lodged at Sewa Kutir home in Mukherjee Nagar here escaped early on Sunday.
The home-break was preceded by an eight-hour-long rampage during which the group burst cylinders, smashed glass, looted cash and other supplies, pelted stones and set the superintendent’s office on fire.
However, no injuries were reported and the damage was restricted to property.
According to the observation home staff, the incident started around 8-15 p.m. on Saturday, when six minors demanded drugs. Authorities said the six boys were involved in a similar incident at another juvenile home in Majnu Ka Tila in August this year. They had been transferred to Mukherjee Nagar after that incident.
“The group first thrashed a security guard. When we told them that we could not provide them drugs, they made another demand; that to be transferred to a de-addiction centre nearby. This again was not possible without a magisterial order but our efforts to explain this to the group did not work as they incited others to join them,” a Sewa Kutir official said.
All hell broke loose when the group was joined by others who came out of their dormitories, aggravating the problem. They smashed glass and threw stones. After this, they went to the kitchen and took supplies and LPG cylinders.
“They short-circuited the wires to ignite the cylinders and set all the entry points on fire to prevent anyone from coming near them,” said another staff member.
The official said other inmates got scared looking at the violent attitude of the group. The accused allegedly threw stones at them while they moved towards the playground accompanied by Rakesh Kumar Yadav, a welfare officer.
“While I was guiding the calmer lot towards the relatively safe open area, the violent group kept asking others to join them. Some of them asked me to talk to them to resolve the issue but their plan was to drop a cylinder on me. They dropped it eventually but since I maintained a safe distance, I remained unhurt,” said Mr. Yadav.
Then, a group of around 50 juveniles climbed onto the building’s roof, from where they hurled stones and bricks on the entire compound. They then placed mattresses over the barbed wires on the boundary walls and crossed over to the area where the superintendent’s office and storeroom are located.
“They broke open the chest where cash was kept and took away around Rs. 35,000. They then set the superintendent’s office on fire. It led to the destruction of several important documents kept there. In the storeroom, they took out articles and started throwing them. They came back to the rooftop and continued the violence,” said the official.
The entire home had been ransacked by the time 33 of the inmates escaped by climbing onto the roofs of the adjacent building. The authorities said the situation was brought under control around 4 a.m.