‘He is only 8’: In Bihar, a mom fights for launch of minor son arrested after communal conflict

Since September 9, Sheena Khatoon* has been spending her days visiting attorneys and activists, determined to get her minor son out of custody. The earlier night, the boy had been arrested by the Bihar Police after communal clashes throughout a Mahavir Akhara rally in Barharia, about 250 km from the state capital of Patna.

The boy, together with 35 different individuals, has been booked below critical sections of the Indian Penal Code regarding rioting, rioting with a lethal weapon, try to homicide, assault, disturbing a spiritual meeting, inflicting grievous damage, frightening breach of peace and legal conspiracy.

According to the boy’s beginning certificates, issued by the gram panchayat and reviewed by Scroll.in, he’s eight years previous. However, the Bihar Police has recorded his age as 13.

Siwan district Justice of the Peace Amit Kumar Pandey mentioned that the authorities recorded the boy’s age as 13 primarily based on what he “told them when he was in custody”.

Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code states that the acts of a baby – outlined as being between seven and 12 – can’t be thought-about as offences till he has “attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge the nature and consequences of his conduct”.

His mom is indignant. “Everyone is asking us for proof of his age,” she mentioned “Why is no one asking the police on the basis of what they have decided he is 13?”

The household alleges that the minor was saved in a police station for 2 nights. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, minors ought to be taken to an observational dwelling instantly. Pandey, nonetheless, insisted that the act was adopted and the boy was offered in entrance of the Juvenile Justice Board inside 24 hours.

He is now within the Juvenile Justice Home in Siwan.

The boy’s 70-year-old grandfather has additionally been arrested.

The two had been in a mosque saying their prayers when the Mahavir Akhara procession stopped exterior, mentioned Mohammad Aftab*, the minor’s 24-year-old cousin. Fearing for his or her security, they remained contained in the mosque, Aftab mentioned.

Pandey advised Scroll.in that as of Tuesday, 20 individuals had been arrested within the case. Of the 35 individuals named within the first info report, 25 are Muslim and 10 are Hindu.

The case has drawn widespread criticism. “Even children are not safe under the new “Secular Chacha” @NitishKumar rule,” mentioned Asaduddin Owaisi, head of the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen, on Twitter. “Instead of catching the rioters, the police are targeting Muslim children. The police personnel should be given strict punishment and the family members of the child should get compensation.”

The boy’s beginning certificates exhibits that he’s eight years previous.

In 5 movies of the violence reviewed by the Scroll.in, it seems that the clashes came about in Barharia’s Purani Bazaar locality round 4.30 pm on Thursday. Men sporting saffron robes will be seen with swords and sticks as they march within the Mahavir Akhara rally. At the time of the Asr ki namaz, the Islamic late-afternoon prayers, the rally paused exterior the Madina Masjid. Stones had been hurled.

Videos of the incident present contributors within the rally throwing stones on the mosque and attempting to assault it. Other movies present Muslim males hurling stones from the highest flooring of the mosque.

Muslims advised Scroll.in they had been solely making an attempt to defending themselves, whereas Hindus declare Muslims began the violence.

As the violence unfold, property was vandalised and 15 or 16 individuals suffered minor accidents, residents declare. However, district Justice of the Peace Pandey mentioned that no members of the general public had been injured although some police personnel sustained minor accidents.

“Everything is fine,” he mentioned. “These were not communal clashes.”

Asked why the Siwan administration didn’t consider the clashes had been communal in nature, Pandey defined, “When there is body contact, when people fight between themselves, only then it is called communal. Only some stone pelting was done, that is it.”

The boy’s grandfather was granted bail on Tuesday,

Mohammad Aftab*, the minor’s cousin, mentioned a bail plea for the boy was moved the identical day. “The requirements for our grandfather need to be completed,” he mentioned. “And for my brother, we are hoping he is released from jail tomorrow [September 14] itself.”

He mentioned angrily that each the boy and his grandfather had been dropped at the courtroom with their fingers and waists certain in rope.

Screenshots from among the movies of the violence in Bihar’s Siwan district from 8 September.

‘He cries each day’

Aftab, a civil engineer who returned from Bahrain within the Gulf lately, described the minor as a shy boy who saved to himself however by no means missed his prayers. He is a Class 4 pupil in Iqra Public School, near the village. Aafreen Parveen*, one other cousin, mentioned that he was the type of little one who solely spoke when spoken to and didn’t prefer to get into fights.

His grandfather, Aftab mentioned, had served because the sarpanch of Barhariya village round seven years in the past. “They have arrested the kind of man who would solve the problems of others,” he mentioned. He added that his grandfather had been in hospital for a abdomen operation a month in the past and was nonetheless recovering from the process.

While the household waits for the grandfather and the minor to return dwelling, his mom has her fingers full. Her husband had gone to Delhi to use for jobs and the household has requested him to remain there, fearing that he will probably be harassed by the police if he returned. “We do not think it is a good time for him to return to Siwan,” mentioned a cousin of the minor.

The boy’s mom mentioned that she has been allowed to see her son for under 5 or ten minutes day by day. “Every time he cries profusely asking what he did wrong and when he will come home,” she mentioned.

She mentioned that desires her son to return again dwelling rapidly. “How can they separate an eight-year-old from his mother?” she requested.

*Names of these associated to the minor within the story have been modified to guard his identification.

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