Inspector L Y Rajesh called them to the Attibele police station on Sunday, and presented them with saplings.
For 26 men with a history of crime, the New Year dawned with an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Literally.
Inspector L Y Rajesh called them to the Attibele police station on Sunday, and presented them with saplings. He counselled them to stay away from crime. The gathering comprised those convicted of offences ranging from petty theft to murder.
"Planting a sapling is going to be a positive, long-term lesson," he told DH. He advised the history-sheeters to water the saplings regularly.
"A beat constable will monitor the history-sheeters and also file periodical reports on the growth of the saplings," Rajesh said.
Many who received the saplings were pleasantly surprised.
"Sir handed each of us a tulsi sapling and a book. I will water the sapling every day, and begin my day with prayers," said Suchendra (32), who runs a tea shop in Attibele. "I will also read at least one page a day from the book."
The book, 'Karunaalu Baa Belake,' is a self-improvement guide by Gururaj Karjagi.
Rajesh's green initiative was prompted by what he saw in Delhi. "I saw the smog and thought I should do something to stop Bengaluru going that way," he said.
Police have assured the history-sheeters help to take up jobs that suit their educational qualifications.
Staggered by kind act
Lorry driver Prem Kumar (26), among those who received the New Year gift, said: "It was a shock. None of the policemen had ever treated us with such kindness."
Early on Sunday, when he got a call from the police station, he was upset. "But when I went there, I felt energised. I vowed not to commit any crime," he said.
Karthik (24), who took a similar oath, hailed Rajesh for the initiative. "There are many like us desperately waiting to for a fresh start. We need someone to trust us and give us moral support," he said.