In a major setback for the intelligentsia, the Honorable Supreme Court maintained that it was satisfied with the findings of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Juvenile Justice Committee report, which denied the illegal detention of the minors in the region, as circulated by people with vested interests in both national and international media.
The apex court was responding to a petition by alleged child rights activists Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha, who sought a probe on the alleged detention of minors since August 5, when the abrogation of Article 370 was officially announced. The petition had cited a number of media reports, which included reports from Scroll.in, The Washington Post, Caravan, The Quint, TRT World etc. as the list went on.
However, the bench comprising Justice NV Ramanna, Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice BR Gavai maintained that the findings of the Juvenile Justice Committee were correct, and they found no substance in the allegations of the illegal detention of children by security forces. The court, expressing its satisfaction with the High Court report, said the four High Court Judges of the Committee had visited all jails and spoken to those concerned and found no children under detention.
The Court also took note of the admission of J&K Police in October, where they said that 144 juveniles “in conflict with law” were arrested and said almost all of them were released either on the same day or after a brief period in observation homes. They also added that media reports on minors being detained and lodged in police lock-up “in violation of law” were “found not factually true”. Such reports served “facts imagined from thin air” to create stories “which may have an element of sensationalism”.
However, the petitioners weren’t done yet. Their counsel consistently attempted to peddle propaganda, to which Justice BR Gavai reacted harshly. According to the observations of Live Law, “Counsel of the petitioners Huzefa Ahmadi said, “It is undisputed that 79 children were detained under Section 107 of CrPC. These are children who were detained. What threat will they cause. They aren’t stone pelters. This was preventive detention. Public Safety Act does not apply to minors.”
“But they were released the same day,” Gavai said in his response. “Are you aware what 15-year-olds are capable of doing these days? Should we trust the fact finding conducted by our four judges of the High Court or some report which appeared in Washington newspaper?”
With the rejection of the findings by the apex court, the Indian government stands vindicated on the issue of Kashmir post the abrogation of Article 370.
The Central Government had announced the abrogation of Article 370’s special status provisions as allotted to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir on 5th of August. This marked a series of misleading news, peddled both by certain factions in national as well as international media. Amongst the volley of fake news peddled by this cartel, the illegal detention of minors was also circulated as well, which was completely false from the beginning.