KOCHI: It may be a case of youngsters growing amoral or a plain fascination for adventure, but juvenile criminals in Kerala are no longer a tiny minority. The data released by the National Crime Records Bureau showed that 1,203 cases were registered against juvenile offenders in the state in 2014, under various Sections of the IPC and special laws, a sharp rise from the 773 case in 2013.
The data has also revealed a sharp rise in the number of cases registered against juveniles under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act in the state. When the number of juveniles booked under the NDPS Act was just three in 2013, it rose to 22 in 2014 - highest in the country. Similarly, 39 minors were booked for rape in 2014, compared to 32 in 2013. In 2014, 180 theft cases involving minors were registered in the State.
Meanwhile, 11 cases were registered against minors for rash and negligent driving causing death. A total of 436 cases were registered against juveniles for rash driving causing injuries.
Interestingly, only six juveniles involved in criminal activities were illiterate; 368 had primary education; 831 had education below higher secondary and 370 had education above higher secondary.
Of all juveniles booked for various offences, 508 belonged to families with income of up to `25,000; 421 belonged to families with income up to `50,000; 149 were from families with income of up to `1 lakh; 53 belonged to families with income of `2-3 lakh; and 10 persons were from families with income of more than `3 lakh.
Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights member K Nazeer said most of the children were used as carriers by drug rackets.
“Children get attracted to luxuries and fall in the traps laid by racketeers,” he said. “More urgent steps are required to prevent children from engaging in criminal activities,” Nazeer added.