GUWAHATI, Jan 18 - Terming jails as the 'breeding ground for hardcore criminals', Director General of Assam Police Sankar Barua called upon the police personnel to protect juvenile rights so that they do not end up becoming hardened criminals.
"While dealing with any petty crime committed or to which the juvenile is a party or involved in any way, the investigators need to be cautious and that is how one can prevent a future criminal. If his rights are not ensured and the reformative path is not shown, it would be a matter of time when he becomes a hardcore criminal," Barua commented while speaking during a seminar-cum-workshop on Juvenile Justice System held at Don Bosco Institute, Kharguli yesterday. The workshop was organised by the Assam Police.
Backing his statements, the Assam Police chief said that during questioning many petty criminals have confessed that they have taken to serious forms of crime only after coming in contact with the hardcore offenders.
He, while urging the police personnel to implement the child rights in letter and spirit, also referred to Ashwas, an Assam Police project, which has gone a long way in protecting and ensuring rights of the children hit by insurgent activities.
Later in the day, Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court MB Lokur while addressing the gathering urged the men-in-khaki not only to be sensitive to the juvenile-related issues but also responsive.
"The juveniles are voiceless group and it is our duty to reach out to them so that they are heard. We cannot wait hoping that they would reach out to us. Unlike men, women or physically challenged, they are not organized group because of their age or the circumstances, which as a result increases the responsibility on us," Lokur stated.
"They are in need help but cannot ask for it. It is a challenge for the police department and they will have to live up to it," the Chief Justice stated.
Additional Director General of Police (CID) Mukesh Sahay also spoke on the implementation of legal provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act and the steps being initiated by the Assam Police.
Several other speakers including H Sharma, Commissioner and Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Racheal Kabi, consultant, Child Protection, UNICEF, Assam, Hasina Kharbhih, team leader, IMPULSE, an NGO also deliberated on the issue.
Sudhir Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police and Suman Nalwa, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police also interacted with the participants.