Over 33,000 juveniles, mostly between the age group of 16 to 18, have been arrested for crimes like rape and murder across the country in 2011, the highest in last decade.
According to home ministry data, of the total of 33,387 juveniles apprehended in 2011, 21,657 were in the 16-18 age group, 11,019 of 12-16 age group and 1,211 between 7-12 age group.
A total of 33,628 adolescents were held in 2001, 35,779 in 2002, 33,320 in 2003, 30,943 in 2004 and 32,681 in 2005 for their involvement in different criminal acts.
Whereas, 32,145 such youngsters below 18 years of age were held in 2006, 34,527 in 2007, 34,507 in 2008, 33,642 in 2009 and 30,303 during 2010, the data said.
The data also shows increasing cases of rape by juveniles. As many as 1,419 such cases were recorded in 2011 as compared to 399 cases in 2001, it said.
It is pertinent to mention that a juvenile and five others were arrested by Delhi Police for brutally raping and assaulting a 23-year-old girl in the national capital on December 16. The victim later succumbed to her injuries.
The cases of murder by juveniles have also shown a surge in last ten years. As many as 531 youngsters below the age of 18 were apprehended for murder in 2001 as against 888 arrests between January and December 2011.
According to the data, 6,770 juveniles were arrested in Maharashtra, 5,794 in Madhya Pradesh, 2,692 in Chhattisgarh, 2,542 in Rajasthan and 2,510 in Gujarat among others in 2011.
In the same year, a total of 2,474 adolescents were arrested in Andhra Pradesh, 2,083 in Tamil Nadu, 1,204 in Uttar Pradesh and 1,126 in Bihar, the data said.
Whereas, 942 juveniles were arrested in Delhi, 159 in Chandigarh, 85 in Puducherry, 22 in Dadar and Nagar Haveli, 16 in Daman and Diu and eight in Andaman and Nicobar in 2011.
Of the total number of juveniles arrested in 2011 under different sections of IPC and Special and Local Laws (SLL), 6,122 were illiterate, 12,803 were primary passouts, 10,519 were above primary and below matriculation qualified and 4,443 were matric and higher secondary qualified, the data said.
A total of 27,577 juveniles, who were held for criminal acts, were living with parents, 4,386 were living with guardians and 1,924 were homeless, the data said giving details of their family background.