NHRC Notice to UP Govt Over Imprisonment of 2 Minor Muslim Girls on Charges of ‘Cow Slaughter’

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Sheeba and Layba after their release from jail. — Photo : The Hindu

SHEEBA AND LAYBA, BARELY 17 AND 13, SPENT OVER 3  MONTHS IN JAIL WITH HARDCORE CRIMINALS, INSTEAD OF BEING REFERRED TO A JUVENILE HOME

Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — Responding to media reports about two young minor girls being sent to jail instead of juvenile home in an alleged case of “cow slaughter” in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the BJP government of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, demanding an explanation.

The two young Muslim girls Sheeba and Layba, barely 17 and 13 respectively, could come out of the jail on bail only after spending three and half months there and were understandably extremely traumatised. The girls were granted bail by Allahabad High Court on March 27th and finally got released on April 7th when the family had approached the HC after a local court had refused their bail plea.

In its notice to the UP government, the NHRC has observed that the contents of the news report about the incident, if true, amount to “gross violation of human rights of the two minor girls. Not sending the minor girls to juvenile home, if they are in conflict with the law, is a violation of the statutory obligation on part of the public servant.”

The Commission has issued notices to the UP Chief Secretary and Director General of Police demanding a detailed report in the matter within four weeks.

The UP police had arrested the two minor girls Sheeba and Layba  on December 29 last year, accusing them of “cow slaughter” and “attacking the police team” when it raided ‘Waqeel Ki Dairy’ area in the Khatauli of Muzaffarnagar district following a tip-off. The Police had claimed that they recovered “ten quintals of meat and instruments used to slaughter animals along with hides of cattle” from ‘Waqeel ki dairy’. While Naseemuddin, father of the two girls and also the main accused in the case, had fled with some others, the police had arrested seven members of his family along with two of his neighbors.

Sheeba was barely 17 and Layba below 13 when they were arrested along with their mother and four other relatives including a minor boy. Sheeba was born in January 2001 and Layba in January 2005, show their Aadhaar cards. But in the FIR, the police wrote their age as 21 and 19 respectively and presented them as adults in the court. The police ignored the Aadhaar cards and said the two girls appeared adults by their physical appearance and sent to jail.

Besides minor girls, three women of the same family and the minor boy, were also granted bail by the Allahabad HC later in April but the two neighbours and Shahbaz, uncle of the girls, are still in jail. Naseemudin who is lodged in the district jail now, had surrendered himself to the police later in April while rest of the accused in the case are still absconding.

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