Chennai: A teenager employed to clean cars in Maduravoyal in north Chennai has a great ambition; he wants to become a politician and nothing else. Having worked in a local politician’s house for sometime, he is convinced his life would be satin smooth if he chose politics as his career.
Running away from his slum-home years ago, the boy has been committing minor robberies to fund his dream and in the process, was in and out of the juvenile correction home in the city. His parents apparently did not seek him, nor is he bothered about them.
Another runaway kid in north Chennai was ‘adopted’ by a local rowdy and ‘trained’ in extortion, robbery and bullying. “We counselled the boy when he landed in the juvenile home.
He was a bright fellow and it was possible to convince him he should resume school. But things turned topsy-turvy soon after his release”, said a child psychologist specialising in juvenile offenders. According to her, she was travelling with the boy in a bus when he received a call on his mobile from the rowdy’s wife pleading that he must surrender himself before the police for the murder committed by his ‘annan’ (elder brother).
“The boy was at first shaken, unsure of how to react. The woman was telling him he must show his loyalty to annan for taking care of him when his own family did not want him. She said if he took the blame for the murder, he would get only a short term in a juvenile home whereas annan could get locked up for life if he did not oblige”, recalled the therapist. She was finally able to convince the boy against falling into annan’s trap but remains unsure how long he would be able to resist the urge to get into big crime.
“We have found such cases of hardened criminals using kids for taking the blame for their crimes. In course of time, these crime-kids graduate from the juvenile homes to adult jails as they move from one violent crime to another”, rued a senior police officer....