The District Child Protection Unit on Tuesday confirmed that the two accused in the girl burn case of Kendrapara were juveniles and not majors as mentioned by the local police.
Pradip Das and Ekadashi Das were arrested by police on July 29 and July 31 respectively for their alleged involvement in setting fire to a 15-year-old Dalit girl after the latter spurned Pradip’s advances.
The incident occurred on July 28. The victim, a resident of seaside village of Kharinashi under Mahakalapada police limits, suffered 70 per cent burn
injuries, and died 12 days later on August 8.
Two officials of the District Child Protection Unit on Tuesday verified school admission registers in Kharinashi primary school and Kharinashi high school and came to know that both the accused were wrongly described as majors.
A report in this regard was published in these columns on Tuesday.
Claiming that his son was innocent, Ratneswar Das, father of Ekadashi had said that his son was born on 20.3.1996. This was confirmed by Alapana Das, Headmistress of Kharinashi primary school, where Ekadasi had studied. She said his date of birth as claimed by Ratneswar matches with school admission register. Ekadashi was 17 years, four months and nine days on July 28 when the crime was committed.
The other accused, Pradip, is also a minor as he was born on 12.3.1996 as per the admission register of Kharinashi high school where he studied.
The headmaster of the school Himanshu Das confirmed it after referring to the admission register.
“We will move the district Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) to declare them as juveniles on the basis of their date of births in their school registers. Section 15 (g) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act mandates that if a juvenile is convicted in any case, he can be sent to a special home for a period of three years at the maximum and thereafter, released on probation,” said Bijaya Ketan Sahoo the District Child Protection Officer.
Meanwhile, a child rights activist Biraja Pati of Kendrapara also filed petitions before District Child Protection Unit and Child Welfare Committee on Tuesday alleging negligence on the part of the police.
Santanu Kumar Padhi, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) said police are investigating into the case and necessary action will be initiated.