BIRATNAGAR: Twenty-five children under the age of 16 have been languishing in Morang jail.
Data prepared by prisoners this week claimed that 19 children were serving term for serious offences, while the remaining six were staying in the jail with their parents.
Machindra Rai, 15, a resident of Itahari municipality, was held on the charge of involvement in a rape case. Rai, who worked as a conductor on a bus operating along the Kakarvitta-Dharan route was held five months ago.
Another prisoner, Rajesh Yadav, 15, from Narsiga VDC in Sunsari district is serving a two-year jail term for allegedly
possessing arms and ammunitions. Yadav claimed that the police had forced him to carry a bag which contained weapons. "The police arrested me, though other people had fired shots," he claimed.
Yadav further added that he used to be a Grade IX student in Rastriya Lower Secondary School at Laukihi.
Dinesh Yadav, 15, a resident of Paschim Kusaha of Sunsari has also been serving jail term for a year. He was held on the charge of killing his neighbour Tetar Yadav.
Dinesh who appeared in the SLC exam this year claimed that he was innocent. Police had also arrested Yadav's father Kapileshwor on the same charge.
However, he was released after a few months. "Tetar
was killed in police firing, but nobody protested when I
was arrested for the crime I never committed," Dinesh alleged. There are over 250 prisoners and detainees in the Morang jail.
"The data cannot be accepted until it is verified by the court and District Administration Office," jail chief, Khagendra Giri said.
"If the prisoners are under the age of 16, they should produce age verification certificates from school, VDC office or any other authority," he said.
"If the prisoners are found to be below the age of 16, they would be sent to reformatory," he said.