BHUBANESWAR: Over 67 per cent of juvenile offenders apprehended in the State are either illiterate or barely made it to primary schools. Most of them have extremely poor financial background.
Even as the nation debates the juvenile justice system over the Nirbhaya case and there is a general air of vengeance against the convict who was released on Sunday, there is more to the profile of these young ones in conflict with law than just the crimes they have been accused of committing.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics say over half of the juveniles held last year by law enforcement agencies across the country are either illiterate or attended primary schools. Out of 45,467 juveniles apprehended under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and special laws, the report says at least 9,735 are illiterate while 14,188 have attended only classes at primary level.
If 52 per cent of the juvenile offenders have no or very little education nationally, in Odisha, it jumps to 67 per cent. Of 1077 juveniles apprehended last year, 267 are illiterate while 458 have gone to primary classes.
The economic background of the juvenile offenders from the State also reveals that most of them come from very poor families. At least 769 of these offenders (71 per cent) belong to families with a maximum annual income of Rs 25,000 while another 217 are in the Rs 25,000-Rs 50,000 bracket. Close to 80 per cent of these offenders live in family systems.
A majority of these young offenders is also first timers. According to the NCRB report, out of 1077 apprehended last year, 1029 were held for the first time whereas 48 had been convicted in the past. In 2014, as many as 813 cases of juvenile crime cases were registered in the State. Of them, 79 have been accused of rape while in 19 cases, they are charged with murder. In 27 cases, the offenders have been accused of attempt to murder while in 37, with outraging modesty of the women. “A number of the rape cases involves underage marriage and elopement,” sources in the police point out.
However, majority of the offences include theft (205), criminal trespassing and burglary (120), kidnapping and abduction (49) and robbery (39).