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Police In India Charge Toddler With Theft, Trespassing And Dishonestly Receiving Stolen Property

| by Reve Fisher
Ravi and his fatherRavi and his father

Police in northern India recently tried to arrest a toddler in connection with a theft in Uttar Pradesh.

Two-year-old Ravi was named in a police complaint along with a family member and two other men, according to the BBC. When police attempted to arrest the toddler on Sept. 28, his father took him to district court, where he explained the situation and asked senior officials to intervene.

Four people, including Ravi, were accused of theft, trespassing at night, and dishonestly receiving stolen property after a theft had been reported at Bajehra village in Sitapur district on Sept. 20. Due to a complaint by the victim and other people in the village, a case was registered against everyone who appeared to be involved.

It is not clear why the toddler's name was included, but it has been removed from the complaint. The three adults are currently in jail.

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Although police cannot register a case against a minor under the age 7 in India, there have been several circumstances in the past few years where criminal cases have been filed against young children.

In 2014, a 1-year-old boy and his father were charged with coercion prior to a local election, also in Uttar Pradesh. Two policemen were suspended following the event.

"It is now clear that the police officials did not visit the area and prepared their report on just hearsay without verifying facts," senior police official Gulab Singh told the BBC after the 2014 incident. "We have taken the matter very seriously and are ensuring such incidents do not happen in the future."

In 2011, a 5-year-old boy was charged with disrupting the peace and had to report to police daily in the state of Bihar, India. Police said it was a case of mistaken identity, as they had meant to arrest his brother. "It's a serious violation of child rights," said Mukesh Kant, a Patna high-court criminal lawyer.

In the neighboring country of Pakistan, a 9-month-old was charged with planning a murder, threatening police and interfering in state affairs. The child was one of over 30 people facing charges after a raid to arrest alleged gas thieves. The assistant superintendent who filed the charges against the baby was ultimately suspended.

Sources: BBC (2) (3) (4) / Photo credit: BBC