Police Target Dalits Across Maharashtra

10 January 2018

Post Bhima Koregaon Violence, Police Target Dalits Across Maharashtra; Minor Boys Worst Hit
BY SUKANYA SHANTHA ON 09/01/2018 • Courtesy: The Wire

https://thewire.in/211861/post-bhima-koregaon-violence-police-target-dalits-across-maharashtra-minor-boys-are-its-worst-victims/

Mumbai: Sarita Kamble stood in front of the tall, wooden door of the Dongri Observation Home for almost 10 minutes before entering. “He can’t see me crying. It will make him weak. Let us go in once I feel composed,” she hastily tells her husband, Sanket, as she struggles to hold back her tears.

It’s January 6, three days since her 15-year-old son was picked up by Chembur police for “unlawfully assembling on the street”, “rioting” and the most serious of all – “voluntarily causing grievous hurt to any person being a public servant in the discharge of his duty”. Sarita’s son studies in class nine at a municipal corporation run school near Deonar. He is one of 16 boys, all below 16, to be booked and later lodged at Dongri Children’s Home for their alleged roles in the riot and vandalism at Chembur on January 3. Sarita, like other parents, has come to see her son.

One law student from her neighbourhood in Govandi had told her that her son Rahul might be kept in “jail” for 10 years. “That boy told me the sections are grave. He opened some page on his mobile phone and read it aloud,” Sarita says. “Ataa daha varshaa saathi gela samjha tumcha mulga (your son has gone in for 10 years now),” Sarita recalls his exact words.

But once she steps inside the observation home and speaks to the social workers from the Resource Cell for Juvenile Justice (RCJJ) – a field action project started by the Centre for Criminology and Justice Department of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) – Sarita gets some clarity. “They (social workers) said under-18 children cannot be kept here for more than three years. But my son is still a child. He is innocent. I cannot let him be here for even a day more,” she tells The Wire while waiting outside the probation officer’s office, hoping to see her son. Read more on this at: https://thewire.in/211861/post-bhima-koregaon-violence-police-target-dalits-across-maharashtra-minor-boys-are-its-worst-victims/

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