Criminal or victim

Javeria Raza

PESHAWAR: A few days ago news on aired on different T.V. channels which compelled all the members of the society to think for a while. The news was that a 10-12 years old boy was arrested by the police because he had stolen flour from a general store of that area.Poor children

During investigation the boy accepted the charge and asked the police investigator, “Do you have a family?” The policeman looked at him with confusion. The boy asked again, “Do you have mother, sister, brother or young children at your house?” The policeman replied “Yes, but why are you asking such questions?” The boy said “Do you have something to eat?” The policeman once again got confused as he couldn’t get why the boy was asking such questions. After a moment, the boy looked at him and said “I have two brothers, one sister and a mother at home. My father passed away six months back. Whatever my father earned finished within a month, then my mother went out in search of a job, but now she is ill. My family hasn’t eaten anything since two weeks. I had no other option but to steal flour so that my family could eat. Was this wrong? Am I a criminal? From where should we eat?”

The policeman had no answer, the reporters had no answer, and even the listeners had no answer.

Just think for a while…. Who is responsible for this situation, the boy, his mother, his father’s death or the society? The question remains unanswered.

In fact, all of us are responsible because we all have collectively formed our society, and it’s the duty of the whole society to fulfill the needs of its members, to provide the basic needs of life. It’s the societies that socializes the individual and frame the behavior of individuals in either negative or positive way.

This child was also compelled by his circumstances to indulge into a negative or criminal act of stealing due to his poverty. Law of the state regarded this child as delinquent and punished him, but sociologically, he was not a criminal. It was the situation that was responsible.

According to sociologists, it was the reaction to the existing agents that compelled the child to act in that negative way. His family had nothing to eat, there was no one who could earn for them, and he himself had no job. Isn’t it the responsibility of the government to provide for necessities of life in such conditions?

Should that child be punished? Was the decision of law justified? Will this solve the problem? What will his family do now? What would be the psychological impact on his mind in the long run?

Is there anyone to answer these pinching questions?


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