Tamil Nadu

Murders with juveniles as accused doubled in five years in Tamil Nadu

Illustration: Deepak Harichandan.  

The number of murder cases in which juveniles were named as accused has more than doubled in the five years from 2016 to 2020 in Tamil Nadu, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reports.

This was despite no sharp increase in the overall number of murders that took place in the State every year since 2016. While 48 of the 1,603 murders (3%) had juveniles among the accused in 2016, 104 of the 1,661 murders (6.3%) in 2020 involved juvenile offenders.

The below graphs show the number of murders that happened in India and in Tamil Nadu in the past five years and the percentage in which juveniles were booked as accused. As the graphs show, while this percentage remained fairly constant nationally, Tamil Nadu saw a steady rise. 

Murders with juveniles as the accused have steadily increased in the past five years. Between 2019 and 2020, while the total number of murders in the State declined from 1,745 to 1,661, cases in which juvenile were booked increased from 92 to 104.

The increasing trend in Tamil Nadu was in contrast to the national average. Across the country, the percentage of murders in which juveniles were counted among the accused has remained just below 3. Among the places that reported a significant number of murders, Delhi (12.1 %), Gujarat (6.7%) and Madhya Pradesh (6.4%) had a relatively higher percentage of murders involving juvenile offenders than Tamil Nadu. However, Tamil Nadu was the only major State that saw a steady increase in the percentage in the past five years.

Chennai, the Madurai rural police jurisdiction, the Madurai city police jurisdiction, Tiruvallur and Thoothukudi districts reported the highest number of murders with juvenile offenders in absolute numbers.

The trend of juveniles getting in conflict with the law has remained a concern in Tamil Nadu. According to the NCRB’s Crime in India report for 2020, among the major States, Tamil Nadu had the fourth highest rate (16.4%) of juveniles getting involved in crime, which referred to the number of cases involving juvenile offenders per one lakh population of those aged under 18.

In absolute numbers, while juveniles were involved in only 48 murders in 2016, it increased by more than 100 % to 104 in 2020.


Activists said the sharp increase was alarming. Andrew Sesuraj, State convener, Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch, said the trend indicated targeted exploitation of children by anti-social elements. “We see increasing incidents of adolescent children getting involved in crimes like theft to meet their lifestyle needs like a mobile phone or a bike. However, such an increase in their involvement in murders is very concerning.”

He said it was important to look at the possible correlation between this trend and the problematic messaging done in certain movies and other mass media on “using” juveniles to commit murders as the penal provisions for murder under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act were less severe than the Indian Penal Code.

The table below shows the top ten districts in Tamil Nadu that saw a higher percentage of involvement of juvenile offenders in murders in the year 2020.

DistrictTotal murdersMurders in which juveniles were among the accused% of murders in which juveniles were among the accused
Tiruchi City18422.2
Madurai City40820
Tiruppur City22313.6


Girija Kumarbabu, child rights consultant and former member of the Juvenile Justice Board, Chennai, said students dropping out of schools required more attention. “There are many students who drop out of school after Class VIII as the exams become mandatory from Class IX. There are also cases in which they remain enrolled, but stop learning. These children fall into the hands of slightly older men who had a similar trajectory and were involved in anti-social activities.”

Most children who allegedly commit such murders were under the influence of drugs, she said, stressing the need for curbing the availability of and access to drugs.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 1:53:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/murders-with-juveniles-as-accused-doubled-in-five-years-in-tamil-nadu/article36689482.ece

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