The Juvenile Justice Committee (JJC) from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court comprising of four High Court judges has submitted its report to the Supreme Court giving the details of 144 minor boys ‘arrested’ in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5.
As per a report in the Times Of India, the committee, in its report has submitted that all the boys have been released except only two who were in juvenile homes. The JJC was tasked to examine the cases after several media outlets in India and abroad reported that underage boys have been detained by Indian security forces and are being tortured.
The JJC, comprising of HC judges Ali Mohammad Magrey, Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Sanjeev Kumar and Rashid Ali Dar has submitted its report to the SC after individually examining each of the detention cases and has concluded that except two, all boys were released on the same day.
‘Child rights activists’ Eenakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha were the petitioners on whose plea the JJC was tasked by CJI Ranjan Gogoi to file a detailed report. Interestingly, the ‘activists’ had based their petition not on actual complains but on reports by news portals such as The Quint, The Scroll, Caravan and Washington Post.
The JJC has specified that till now, they “have not recieved a single complaint or representation or anything like that from any individual, lawyer, human rights activists, group persons, organisations, civil society members or any other person complainging about the arrest of any juvenile.”
The detailed report has included data not only from police stations but also from juvenile homes in the state.
The police report cited by the JJC states,” Child welfare committees are effectively working in the state and the petition is only an exaggeration to settle some political score and to demoralise the state action which has only been within the parameters of Law.”
After a detailed inspection and follow up of individual cases, the JJC’s report has demolished the claims made by portals like The Quint, The Scroll, Carvan and Washington Post. The JJC has also cited individuals claims by these media houses to demonstrate how they had created a false narrative to mislead the public and create an environment of fear based on nothing.
As per the JJC report:
- “Detention of 11-year-old from Pampore is factually not correct. It has been ‘generated’ with an intention to malign the police and to create a story with an element of sensationalism,” says the JJC report. The story was published in The Quint quoting the ‘fact finding team’ by leftist Kavita Krishnan and Jean Dreze. It is notable here that Krishnan and Dreze’s ‘report’ on Kashmir was also denied screening by the Press Club of India, calling it propaganda.
- The incident of Saura in Srinagar that was published by the Washington Post has also been criticised. Though the police have admitted to some violence and protests from the area, the report does not quote the sources, Hence the JJC found nothing to check the veracity of the claims.
- Also, the August 30 report by Washington Post on Kashmir is called ‘wrong reporting’ by the JJC as no specifics of the alleged incidents were provided. The report was widely shared by Indian opposition politicians and ‘left-liberals’ to allege human rights violations in Kashmir and detention of children by security forces.
- The JJC has called The Quint’s report of minors in Baramulla being detained for days by police as a “fictional imagination”.
- The JJC states that the two boys who were picked up in the Rajbagh police station area on August 22 were let go after a proper counselling by the SHO. They were handed over to their parents on the same day.
- A report on The Scroll had claimed that a boy on his way to the hospital with bread and tea was picked up by the police. The JJC report cites The Scroll’s report and states that it defies ‘common sense’ and it only aims to paint the security forces as ‘predators on the prowl’. Dismissing the claims, the JJC report states that it was nothing but an attempt to demoralise the police personnel.
The J and K police’s report to the JJC has also asked how foreign publications and digital media portals have ‘reported’ incidents that were nowhere to be found on local media and have no evidentiary value.
It is notable here that since the government abrogated Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, leftist media and their patrons have been on a misinformation overdrive. Several false claims, and lies are being peddled. From medicine shortage to imaginary stories of torture and extreme violence, some media portals seem to be peddling the lines perpetrated by Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.