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In an alarming trend, juveniles are increasingly getting involved in crimes including heinous offences like rape and murder, according to government data.
The National Crime Records Bureau's data for 2012 is especially significant as the Women and Child Development Ministry has proposed changes in law to treat juveniles involved in heinous crimes on par with adult offenders, which has met with opposition from certain quarters.
According to the NCRB data, 485 juveniles were involved in rape cases in 2002 and the figure swelled to 1,175 in 2012.
A total of 531 juveniles were arrested on charges of murder in 2002 that jumped to 990 in 2012, an increase of 86.4 per cent.
Apart from that 63 juveniles were involved in dacoity, 207 in robbery, 1723 in burglary and 3361 in theft cases in 2002 which increased to 174, 767, 2,625 and 5,528 in 2012 respectively.
In cases of kidnapping and abduction, 164 juveniles were booked in 2002 which mounted to 789 recording 381.1 per cent increase.
In cases of assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty, 476 juveniles were booked in 2002 which increased to 613 recording 17.4 per cent rise.
An upward trend was witnessed in many other crimes like attempt to murder, rioting, cheating and others as per the NCRB data.
"The figures are shocking as they indicate that more and more juveniles are getting involved in heinous crimes. At times, it is the socio-economic background or even the mental condition of the child that is responsible for such trends.
"But mostly it is due to the bad company and environment in which they dwell that leads them to get involved in such criminal activities. At times even hardened criminals or some gangs use these juveniles to commit such crimes," WCD Krishna minister Tirath said recently.