Plea in Supreme Court seeks psychological help for Jammu and Kashmir children

Children praying at the shrine of Sufi saint Sheikh Syed Abdul Qadir Jeelani in Srinagar on Monday.   | Photo Credit: AP

Activist Enakshi Ganguly on Monday highlighted in the Supreme Court the need for providing psychological assistance to children who were allegedly detained and released by security personnel during the period of lock-down and restrictions imposed in the Valley since August 5.

Appearing before a Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana, advocate Shahrukh Alam, for Ms. Ganguly, said some of these children were as young as nine years old.

Fresh report

The Bench said it received a fresh report from the juvenile justice committee of four senior judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, which inquired into allegations of preventive detention of children by security forces, only on late December 8. The court said it needed time to read the report. The court said it would hear submissions after looking into the report.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, also for Ms. Ganguly, said the report of the committee, being under the Juvenile Justice Act, ought to be made public. The Bench said it would take a call after going through the report. The court listed the case for December 13.

The court had asked the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Juvenile Justice Committee led by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey to enquire into the veracity of reports in international and domestic media that children were detained after the lockdown on August 5 following the removal of Article 370.

“How can there be preventive detention of children? Even the Public Safety Act does not allow the preventive detention of children,” Mr. Ahmadi had submitted.

Objects to report

In the previous hearing on November 5, Mr. Ahmadi had objected to the first report filed by the judges’ committee, saying it merely reproduced the information provided by the J&K police chief without any independent application of mind by the judges to what was true.

In that report, the Committee had quoted the police chief that “no child has been kept or taken into illegal detention by police authorities.” The police chief had said juveniles found in conflict with law were “strictly dealt in accordance under the Juvenile Justice Act.” The report had recorded the police chief’s version that lawful process was followed when investigating agencies establish involvement of minors in stone-pelting, rioting or causing damage to public or private property.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 2:24:36 PM |

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