Other States

91 escape from Meerut juvenile centre

The makeshift rope used by inmates to escape from the juvenile rehabilitation centre in Meerut.– PHOTO: Special Arrangement

The makeshift rope used by inmates to escape from the juvenile rehabilitation centre in Meerut.– PHOTO: Special Arrangement  

Ninety-one children escaped from a Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre in Meerut early Monday morning.

The undertrials used bedsheets to make a rope which they used to jump through the kitchen wall, thereby successfully staging a mass breakout from the young offenders’ home.

According to the SP City Om Prakash, 43 were rearrested during search operation by the police later on Monday morning.

“They removed an iron grill from the window at the back of the building while police was guarding the front,” said Mr. Prakash.

“This was done so professionally that no one got a whiff of it,” added the police officer.

The rehabilitation centre is located in a densely populated area of Suraj Kund which had juveniles from Meerut and nearby districts of Hapur, Baghpat, Gautam Budh Nagar and Ghaziabad.

Both of the guards of the rehabilitation centre have been suspended and the police has continued its search operation at bus stations and railways station. There were 250 juveniles in the Meerut rehabilitation centre which was known for being overloaded beyond the permissible number of under trial children. The Centre has the capacity of 55 inmates.

According to sources, the local administration was “unable” to handle these undertrial children which had earlier resulted in several minor and one major clashes between the juveniles and the guards posted in the rehabilitation centre. To bring down the pressure on the reform centre, 43 children were shifted to the temporary rehabilitation places in Bulandshahr on Sunday, bringing down the number to 207.

The district administration was not ready to come on record about the situation in the rehabilitation centre but according to sources the 250 inmates were “crammed” in a space which was sufficient for only 55 children.

“Rehabilitation Centres are not supposed to be jail but places of reform for juvenile, but in reality the Meerut reform house was much worse than a jail for the children,” said one police officer on condition of anonymity.

“Even a normal jail, adults have enough space for the inmates to walk. But what will be the impact on the minds and behaviour of youngsters when 250 of them are crammed in a space sufficient for just 55. Running away is but natural,” said the officer who was quite critical of the negligence of the State government towards young offenders.

The reform centre being over-loaded had resulted in clashes between the undertrials and the police guards deployed at thecentre. It grabbed headlines when a police personnel died during a major fight in December last year after which police booked 125 of the inmates under serious charges.

On January 9, a police van carrying the under-trials from the local court, was attacked because of which four of the juveniles escaped from the police custody.

To ease the overload, the administration decided to transfer some of the juveniles to temporary rehabilitation centres in their home district.



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Printable version | May 26, 2020 7:37:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/91-escape-from-meerut-juvenile-centre/article6850624.ece

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