India

India police charge toddler for 'coercion and intimidation'

India

Two policemen are to be suspended for charging a one-year-old child with "coercion" ahead of a by-election in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

A police report noted that "10-12-month-old Nazim", and his father Yasin, could disrupt the peace of the poll.

Police often prepare lists of potential trouble-makers and criminals ahead of local elections and send them to the relevant authorities and courts.

Correspondents say the incident has caused outrage in the area.

Senior police official Gulab Singh told BBC Hindi's Salman Ravi that policemen in the Thakurdwara police station in Moradabad had filed the report.

"We have already initiated departmental proceedings against the concerned police officials who are to be suspended by this [Thursday] evening," Mr Singh said.

"It is now clear that the police officials did not visit the area and prepared their report on just hearsay without verifying facts. We have taken the matter very seriously and are ensuring such incidents do not happen in the future."

In 2011, a five-year-old boy in Bihar state was charged with disrupting the peace during village council elections.

Police later said it was a case of mistaken identity and they meant to charge his elder brother with disorderly conduct.

And in 2006, the Bihar police charged a six-year-old girl with attacking them and helping her father escape from police custody.

This was despite the fact that under Indian law, the police cannot file a criminal case against a child below seven years of age.

More on this story