From water dispensers, cylinders and lamp posts to even guitars lay shattered after the violence perpetrated by errant juvenile inmates at the Sewa Kutir observation home in Mukherjee Nagar here on Sunday. And equally shattered were the hapless administrators who seemed befuddled at the question of finding a lasting solution to the recurring problem.

“Is this how ‘children’ behave? Look at the damage they have caused. No part of the premise has been spared. Bricks, stones and whatever they could grab, they throw at you without ever worrying about the consequences. Last night, a lot of them were brandishing sharp-edged glass pieces, threatening to stab anyone coming their way. Even approaching them for a friendly talk could mean risking your life. We cannot use force and the police are also not allowed to intervene. In such a scenario, how can one check this menace,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

The six juveniles who started the violence on Saturday night belonged to the same group that had on August 23 fled from the observation home. “The same group had ransacked another observation home in Majnu Ka Tila, set things afire and pelted stones at the area residents injuring some of them. They were subsequently brought to Sewa Kutir,” said an official.

Some Delhi Armed Police personnel posted along the home periphery said most of the juveniles resorting to violence are almost as well-built as adults.

“They are given good food to eat. We make them speak to their families often. They have enough avenues for leisure activities. We try to meet their other reasonable demands. What else can we do? The policy makers and even some NGOs, fail to factor in the ground realities while formulating for a policy on reformation of juveniles, particularly from the 16 to 18 age group,” said another official.