CHENNAI: The police are hot on the trail of over a dozen juveniles, all undertrials, who escaped from the Borstal School at Kellys, after overpowering the warden on Friday night. Of the 14 who managed to break out, one was caught.
Around 9 pm on Friday, the warden Vijayakumar came to check on the 23 juveniles lodged in a room on the first floor. Police said the boys managed to trick Vijayakumar into opening the locked gate by hiding near the door. Suspecting the inmates to have escaped, the official opened the door to get in and check. The moment he opened the door, the gang overpowered the warden and fled with the keys.
Of those locked in the room, nine juveniles stayed behind. The fleeing inmates threatened the nine not to interfere, and reportedly damaged the TV on the ground floor while running away.
Speaking to Express, Ayanavaram ACP D Sankaran said the Borstal School did not have adequate security.
“All those who escaped were involved in crime reported in the city. The police at Pallavaram, Elephant Gate, R K Nagar, Saidapet, Ice House and Korukkupet stations were intimated about the incident. Also, we have formed special teams, one of the inmates has been secured and we will trace the rest of them soon”, he said.
“The break-out was similar to the one staged here in December last. Unlike the previous attempt, the warden was not assaulted in this case”, said another official.
The Borstal School, exclusively for boys, has 43 inmates.
Commenting on the incident, social activists, including A Narayanan, faulted the way the juvenile justice system has been functioning in the State. Narayanan blamed the Social Defence Department for not implementing the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in letter and spirit.
Children were being looked upon as criminals, and held in Borstal Schools which were similar to prisons where reform seldom happens, he said.
“Besides, incapable and insensitive people manage them. The authorities are forcing probationary officers to double up as District Child Protection Officers (DCPOs), who have an entire district to look after, different homes to visit and cases to attend to. How can the official do justice to both the jobs,” Narayanan wondered.