In dramatic CCTV footage found by the police, the juveniles are seen leaving the home past midnight on Saturday. Sources say the juveniles used pliers to cut open the grille of a window to escape. They can be seen walking out of the home in groups of two or three. Some of them look at motorcycles parked around and two boys can be seen riding off in one of them.
The police had initially filed a case of motorcycle theft, say sources, until much later, it was noticed that the juveniles were missing.
The magistrate in Saidabad, ET Manjusha, said one of the boys had been caught and as per her files 12 are still missing.
The Saidabad centre was overcrowded after another correctional home in nearby Nagole had closed down and many of the inmates had to be shifted, say sources. Several loopholes have come to light in the recent past at the Saidabad juvenile home. The boys are kept in barracks, like in a prison and are not allowed to play in the open. Some of the boys are reportedly addicted to drugs and liquor, and there is no de-addiction programme for them.
Ms Manjusha, who is also a child rights activist, says juveniles in the age group 13 to 17 need special programmes for keeping them occupied. They also require a lot of emotional support, which is largely lacking in these homes.
This is not the first time that the Saidabad home is the news for the wrong reasons. In 2015, an NDTV report, following the death of an 11-year-old boy under mysterious circumstances, showed the home allegedly does not have round-the-clock supervision. The boys are also not segregated age-wise.
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