Madurai Police book 6 Dalit children under POCSO(terror act) Act for fighting in street

Five boys and a girl, all Dalits, booked for pelting children with stones, using abusive language.n a bizarre incident, the Madurai rural district police have registered a case of child abuse against six juveniles, including a girl, in the 9-10 age group, who had fought on the street with five girls and a boy over a quarrel about whose school was better.
The five boys and a girl, all Dalits, have been booked under the provisions of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, for pelting children with stones, using abusive words and for bodily touch. They have also been booked for wrongful restraint, causing hurt using dangerous weapons and criminal intimidation.

The case pertains to boys from Ulaipatti having picked up a quarrel with some caste Hindu children who had to go through the street where the Dalits live on their way to the other school in Soolaipuram. The Dalit children are studying in a panchayat union school.

“The children usually tease each other over the issue of whose school is big,” a police source said.

In one such incident reported on Friday, the boys had pelted one of the girls with stones and later it turned into a fisticuff. When the father of one of the girls lodged a complaint, the police filed a First Information Report (FIR).

To a question on invoking POCSO Act against minor children, the Superintendent of Police, Vijayendra Bidari, said that the Act did not differentiate the accused based on the age. He said the FIR was registered based on the complaint lodged by one of the parents of the “victims.”

“Only the procedure was followed for investigation and filing of the final report is different,” he said.

However, District Child Protection Officer M. Viviliyaraja said he was not consulted by the police before the FIR was registered. “I was informed about the incident only after the FIR was registered,” he said.

Mr. Viviliyaraja had sent a woman counsellor and a social worker to investigate the matter. They had met the “victim” , the “accused” and also police officials. “We will forward the investigation report to the State government for further action,” he said.

‘Age details not given’

Inspector of Police (Ezhumalai police station) K. Selvam said the complainant had not given the age details of the “accused.”

“Even the children from both sides did not know the names of other children. The complainant had identified the children with the names of their father. Since the issue could snowball into a law and order problem in terms of caste differences, we filed the FIR without knowing the age of the children,” he said.