Hyderabad: According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the state recorded as many as 59 rape cases last year in which the culprits were juveniles.
The records project alarming figures as the state stood fourth in juvenile delinquency (crimes committed by children below 18 years) after Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh with 1,837 cases, including 59 rapes.
Most of the juveniles involved in rape cases were between 16 and 18 years. Thefts and burglaries comprised majority of the crimes committed by them.
Experts say juvenile delinquency needs to be looked into seriously, including reducing the age limit (till when a person is consider-ed underage) case by case.
Former Union home secretary K. Padmanabhaiah said, “If it is a simple crime, there’s no need to worry. We have to take grave crimes like rapes and murders seriously.”
Experts for a serious relook at juvenile age
Juvenile delinquency needs to be looked into seriously including reducing the age limit case by case, experts noted.
Speaking on the issue of punishment and reduction of age bar for juveniles, former Union home secretary K. Padmanabhaiah said, “The punishment and reduction of age limit for juveniles shall be case specific. Like in the United States, for heinous crimes the courts has to be given the power of waiver.”
A medico-legal survey of juvenile crimes in Rayalaseema zone of Andhra Pradesh published in the International Journal of Biological and Medical Research states, “The age group of juvenile offenders in this zone is between 13 and 18 years which represent 95 per cent of total juvenile offenders in the juvenile homes. Most involved in the crime are 17 years old, which is around 26 per cent. There are only three of them in the age group below 12 years.”
In the study, Dr T.V. Nagaraja and Dr T. Sai Sudheer of Kurnool Medical College, say, “Most of the juveniles in this study are school dropouts and the main reason for leaving school is lack of interest… Most of them are working as daily wage coolies and are involved in construction work and as hotel boys.
“Most of the juvenile offenders were in the habit of smoking tobacco. The most common crime was theft and robbery, which was around 70 per cent. Parental neglect amounts to 14 per cent of juvenile delinquency in the Rayalaseema zone.”
They added, “The home is a fertile breeding ground for violent behaviour. Children who are exposed to domestic violence are more likely to abuse others as they grow older. Community, friends, neighbours and peers also play a role.” The study involved inmates of juvenile homes in Tirupati, Anantapur and Kurnool of Rayalaseema zone.