An eight-year-old Muslim boy was among the persons arrested in Bihar’s Siwan district after communal clashes broke out during a religious procession, Maktoob Media reported.

The violence started when members of a Mahavir Akhara procession allegedly shouted communal slogans while passing a mosque in the Barharia town, according to The Wire. Some members of the procession were reportedly armed with sticks.

The eight-year-old boy as well as his 70-year-old grandfather were among those arrested for allegedly inciting the violence. The boy’s family reportedly showed the police his birth certificate, but officials allegedly demanded money for his release.

Section 83 of the Indian Penal Code states that an act committed by a child from seven to twelve years of age should not be considered an offence if the child is not mature enough to understand the nature and consequences of the act.

The eight-year-old’s brother said that the child was kept in a private ward and the family was initially barred from meeting him. “When my mother saw him he was handcuffed and scared,” he said. “He was so terrified that he was unable to recognise his own mother. The child was just crying to go back home.”

The child and his grandfather were allegedly produced in court with a rope tied around their waist. The Juvenile Justice Act does not contain any provision allowing an eight-year-old child to be produced before an adult court.

The police have filed a first information report against 35 persons in connection with the violence, according to The Wire. Twenty-five of those arrested are Muslims, and ten are Hindus.

Twenty persons, including ten Muslims and an equal number of Hindus, have been arrested, the BBC Hindi reported.

The police have invoked Indian Penal Code Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly), 188 (disobedience to order), 296 (disturbing religious assembly), 337 (causing hurt), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 435 (mischief with intent of damage), 427 (mischief with substance), 505 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 307 (attempted murder), 353 (assault and use of criminal force) and section 120B (party to criminal conspiracy) against the accused persons.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said that the police officers must be punished and the compensation mut be given to the boy’s family. “In the government headed by newly-minted ‘secular uncle’ Nitish Kumar, even children are not safe,” he remarked on Twitter. “They are being produced in court with a rope tied around them. Instead of arresting rioters, the police are targeting Muslim children.”