Take Children Seriously

For the last few months, boys and girls are increasingly getting to the newspaper front pages for the crimes being committed upon them. While there has been a spate of teenage girls going missing in mysterious circumstances, in various cases boys are also getting missed and a few of them being recovered and restored to the families.

However, there has been a serious incident from Kupwara. An 11-year old boy went missing triggered a village unrest. A few days later he is recovered, dead. He was burnt and his arm was amputated. This triggered massive protests and almost all the political parties strongly reacted to the tragedy.

Jammu and Kashmir is one of the few states that witnessed a four-time numerical growth in the police. Its constabulary jumped in numbers from less than 30,000 in 1988 to more than 120 thousand now, if the SPOs and other extra-constitutional positions are to be enumerated. Besides, the budget for the police has also grown phenomenally. Jammu and Kashmir Police requires more than Rs 3200 crores a year, and falls next to the education department, by way of budgets and the numbers.

If the numbers of the paramilitary forces which are routinely been taken in aid of the state police are added up, the number goes to a much larger figure.

This is true that the security situation was the prime reason responsible for such a phenomenal growth in three decades. But the claims that most of the resources are simply being deployed for the security system needs to be strongly contested.

While the police will have to take care of the security concerns, it cannot keep the routine policing waiting for the situational priorities. It must have clear and dedicated setups that will take care of the peculiar crimes that have suddenly started showing up. The access to rail and other fast communication set up has added to the apprehensions because these fast and better systems of communication will be a support to the criminals. There have to be special cells to take care of the crimes being committed upon the children, both boys, and girls.

Earlier, it was being told that the state police have added to the number of women in its constabulary and added more police stations exclusively for women and managed by women. Why cannot this set up take care of the crimes against children as well?

While police have the responsibility of fighting crimes of all sorts, the society at large cannot be absolved of its responsibility of being the primary caretaker of its young population. There is a requirement of the society backed set up at village and Mohalla level that can take care of certain basics including the safety of the children. There is a requirement of the social and educational institutions to remain in touch and there must a few institutional setups that will exclusively take care of the children in distress.

Kashmir is one of the safest places for women, right now. But that does not mean its children will suffer. People may argue that these are quite a few instances but even one is a major one, if the boy is kidnapped, killed and roasted. It is high time that society takes these cases seriously.

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