mid-day editorial: Cops must treat minors with major sensitivity

Aug 23, 2017, 06:05 IST | mid-day correspondent

A 17-year-old boy, devastated by his mother's death, should have got the sympathy and support of the police. Instead, they subjected the minor to brutal torture and forced him to admit to her murder. This, because the real killer, the boy's own cousin, pointed the finger of suspicion at him.

The boy claimed he was beaten with belts and the nightmare continued for 12 hours, till one constable spoke to him with kindness and extracted the truth. While the police claim there was no ill treatment, it is important that the boy's allegations be investigated. If he was tortured heinously or beaten black and blue, a full inquiry needs to be carried out to pinpoint the cops responsible.

Minors should not face torture and thrashings to extract confessions out of them. One does agree that there are hardened criminals who will not break or reveal details until the police exert some kind of pressure. But, this was a young boy. When he denied the allegations and told the police that he was visiting his uncle at the time, why was that not corroborated immediately, before putting the minor through that ordeal?

Now, the boy will likely need psychological counselling. Do not forget that he has barely had the time to come to terms with the loss of his mother. Then, to be actually accused falsely of committing the murder, and being beaten mercilessly, is all going to leave a huge scar. He will also have to live with the taint of the incident, as there are people who might judge him because he was picked up by the police for his mother's murder.

This teenager needs compassion to heal from his wounds. Let some counselling be made available to him, perhaps with an appropriate NGO stepping in. Mere apologies and excuses will not do. This boy must be compensated with kindness and care.

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