Thiruvananthapuram: The aggressive handling of the Jisha murder case by the police has inflicted collateral damage. A youth with no other means of sustenance has been summarily dismissed from his hard-earned job. It now seems doubtful whether the youth, still in his teens, will ever be employed.
The teenager, who was working as plumber for a private developer in Bangalore, was identified as one of the many suspects in the Jisha murder case. The priest in charge of the home in Bangalore where the teenager was staying had provided enough evidence to show that the boy was in Bangalore when Jisha was murdered in Perumbavoor. Even then, the police team decided to question the teenager at his workplace. (The police in a report to the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights has denied that the investigating team had met the teenager at his workplace but admitted that enquiries were made.)
Police enquiries blew the lid off the boy’s past that was rightfully sealed, and forgotten. In his early adolescence, the boy was implicated in a serious crime. He was nabbed and, being a 13-year-old, put through the rehabilitation and reform processes of the Juvenile Justice system. He was an abandoned child, his mother was mentally unsound and he was dependant on his step-father. Later, statements of certain witnesses hinted that the boy had no direct hand in the crime, that his involvement was only incidental. Intriguingly, a reinvestigation was not ordered. However, with his past exhumed for all to see, Sobha Developers sacked him.
After he lost his job, the teenager has filed a complaint with the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights. But the boy had turned 18 this April preventing the Commission from taking up the case. Ruling that the complaint “appears prima facie genuine”, the Commission has forwarded the case to the State Human Rights Commission.
“The entire juvenile justice jurisprudence rests on the principle of 'fresh start'. Whatever be the nature of crime a person commits before he/she is 18, it should not impact his/her future,” the Commission chairperson Shobha Koshy and member Sandhya J said in their order this month. The boy, it was noted, was one of the big success stories of the state’s juvenile reform programme.
“But unfortunately, another arm of the government, the Police Department, with its arbitrary and insensitive approach caused disaster in his life,” the Commission observed....