Last year, seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur, a Class 2 student in the Ryan International School, was found with his throat slit near a school washroom. A 16-year-old student who, they say, thought that a death would force the school to put off an exam and parent-teacher meeting he was desperate to avoid. Similarly, two days back a Class 1 student was attacked in school with a knife, by a girl who is his senior, in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow — a case that is chillingly similar to the murder of the seven-year-old at Gurgaon’s Ryan International School. Class 6 girl called the six-year-old boy, took him to the toilet and attacked him with a kitchen knife. According to the child, the 11-year-old girl told him, “If I attack you and harm you, only then will the school announce a holiday.” The nation might be shocked with these incidences at this moment but after sometime, the media headlines would be replaced with another story and we will move to another topic. People’s memory is short and their reasoning is lacking civilisation, all are in race. No one has time.
In this fast-paced world, parents don’t have time for their children; this is having a deep impact, considering teenage is the time when one is most vulnerable to waif. Feelings and compassion are slowly becoming archaic in the current social structure; desensitisation takes place since a young age. This is the reason the juvenile crimes have increased by over 47 per cent in the last five years. According to the government, 2010 saw 22,740 cases of juvenile crimes while the number rose successively over the years and in 2014, a total of 33,526 such crimes were committed. One of the major provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act is to address the issue of heinous offences being committed by children in the age group of 16-18 years. In 2017, the crime rate was even more worrisome. The number of juvenile delinquents has risen by leaps and bounds in the last few years. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 23,25,575 cases were registered against juveniles under IPC crimes in 2011. The number steadily rose to 29,49,400 in 2015.To what do we owe these disappointing statistics? And can we do something to correct the situation?
Mass media has also taken a dark turn; most shows on television and a majority of movies glamorise violence, sex and darkness. Even games on the computer and mobile phones push players to the extremes; case in point is the recent Blue Whale suicide challenge, which assigns increasingly harmful tasks to players and finally challenges them to kill themselves on the 50th day.
Children are considered to be the pillar of nation, they are said to be the gifts from God and are greatest personal as well as national assets. We as individuals, parents, guardians and society as a whole have a duty that children should be allowed and provided prospect to grow up in a healthy socio-cultural environment so that they could become responsible citizens, physically fit, mentally alert and morally healthy. It is the duty of the state to provide equal opportunities for development to all children during the period of their growth, which would reduce inequality and ensure social justice.
Youngsters are expected to be well trained, respectful and have virtues and good quality in them. However, due to various causes certain percentage of children do not follow settled social and legal dictum. Such children are most often than not get involved in criminal behaviour, which is known as juvenile delinquency or juvenile crime. Crime by juveniles is a harsh reality in India. In recent times juveniles were found to be involved in most heinous of the crimes such as murder, theft and gang rape. It’s a disturbing trend and society as a whole is anguished by such criminal acts by children. Many experts believe that the present law is inadequate to deal with the situation and we need changes in it so that for heinous crimes, juveniles may also be tried and punished as adults.
Legally speaking, a juvenile can be defined as a child who has not attained a certain age at which he can be held liable for his criminal acts like an adult person under the law of the country. Juvenile is a child who is alleged to have committed certain acts or omissions, which are in violation of any law and are declared to be an offence.
Children in particular are committing petty crimes in general and heinous crimes regularly in India. Crimes such as theft, burglary, snatching which are not so serious in nature or crimes such as robbery, dacoity, murder and rape, which are relatively serious, are on the rise in whole of the country. And the unfortunate thing is that children below the age of 18 years are also committing all types of these crimes.
The inhuman gang rape of a young girl on December 16, 2013, shocked the collective conscience of the nation. The brutality with which the heinous crime was committed was most shocking; it was later found out that among five accused, one was minor and he was the most barbaric one.
Again, in another brutal gang rape case, which is known as Shakti Mills gang rape case, a minor was involved.
Socio-cultural environment, both inside and outside of home, plays significant role in shaping one’s life and overall personality. However, as far as India is concerned, it is poverty and the effect of media, especially the social-media that make juveniles more inclined towards criminal activities.
Poverty is one of the biggest causes, which force a child to get involved in criminal acts. Also, role played by social media today, which is having a more negative than positive imprints on young minds. Unless our approach doesn’t change, unless we don’t give these young minds enough compassion and time, nothing will change in our country. The language of hate from play school politics has damaged these small kids; they are learning nothing but abhorrence and egotism. We all need to wake up and act; if we cannot then we will never be able to do anything against growing crime in little lives.
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