The juvenile accused in the Nirbhaya case of December 16, 2012 is in a state of fear instead of being excited as his date of realize comes near.
He has reportedly expressed fears that the moment be steps out of the reform home he would be lynched by mobs angry at one of the the most foul gang rapes in the capital in independent India.
On the other hand according to news reports, his mother is eagerly awaiting his return in his village in Badaun which he had left five years ago in search of job for the five siblings that has.But the village elders plan to monitor his movements carefully to see if he has been sufficiently reformed through his three year stay in a reform home in Delhi.
Under the present laws a juvenile convicted of heinous crimes can get a maximum of three years in a reform home after which he is given a chance to begin his second innings of life.
Even though the Lok Sabha has approved a cabinet decision of the Modi government to reduce the age of juveniles involved in heinous crimes from 18 to 16, this has not become law as the Rajya Sabha has yet to approve and endorse this.
Actually the fate of this juvenile will also be a litmus test of the tolerance in the country and a test of the rule of law per se.
Even as the opinion in the country seems to be united in demanding that this juvenile should not be allowed to let go because he was the most brutal of the five charged with the brutal gang- rape and violence that finally led to the death of Nirbhaya whose real name happens to be Jyoti, inside information suggests something else.
Addressing a gathering of child rights activists and members of the Child Rights Commissions from across the country two days ago, Mr.Amod Kanth, former DGP Goa and Arunachal Pradesh and General Secretary Prayas, asserted that he was willing to say openly that this juvenile was not involved in the crimes he is being accused of.
He said that he could vouch for this on authority on two counts. One, the case had occurred in South Delhi and since Prayas was looking after the CIC (Crisis Intervention Centre) of South Delhi this case had come to them.
Secondly, the juvenile had been tried by the Juvenile Justice Board at Ferozshah Kotla which is also run by Prayas, he could say that the most brutal of the lot was not the juvenile but Ram Singh, the driver of the ill -fated DTC which she boarded on that night. Ram Singh later committed suicide in jail.
But the mother of Jyoti dropped a bomb-shell two days ago by approaching the National Human Rights Commission saying that this boy should not be allowed to escape with a mere three year reformatory punishment because he was the most brutal of the lot.
Jyoti is not alive nor is Ram Singh to find out who is telling the real truth.
As such it will be interesting to see how the government handles this situation. Going by the present laws the juvenile has to be sent back home in safe custody after completing three years in a reform home where his conduct has been described as flawless.
But the debate on his fate has taken another turn with stories that he had come in touch with some Jehadi who had been kept in the same reform home as him.
Some heads could be rolling at the highest level in Delhi Police for this mix up and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is likely to pitch in with his crusade against the Delhi Police till it comes under him, which is unlikely.
By Amitabh Srivastava
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