Rajasthan police station doubles up as school

A police station in Jhalarapatan in Rajasthan's Jhalawar district is experimenting with a novel method to fight crime.

It is doubling up as an informal school for those who frequented the place after committing crime.

The police station is currently educating 47 youths of the local Kanjar tribe, whose members are often accused of  illicit brewing and other criminal activities.

Under the Navjeewan project, the  administration is trying to impart education, and skills like driving, which would enable people to disconnect from crime and get into the mainstream.

The initiative is the brainchild of Rohit Gupta, district collector of the area rich in stone mines.

Gupta said a discussion with mine owners revealed that they face a shortage of drivers and semi-skilled labour.

“We motivated Kanjar youths to tap this opportunity and decided to equip them with qualifications required for the job,” said Gupta.

He said a class 8 pass certificate required to get a heavy vehicle driver's licence but that qualification is rarely found in the area's dominant tribal community.

So, a three-hour daily class was begun in Jhalarapatan’s Sadar thana.

“Forty-seven youths are currently being taught here by government teachers and adult literacy workers,   and they are also being given computer training,” said Gupta.

Training sessions with the help of mine owners are also being conducted for them at the mining sites for the special skills required for kota stone post-mining operations.

Initially, the administration was disappointed as youths were reluctant to shun traditional practices and join the mainstream. But constant cajoling changed their minds.

“Besides this, today we have already trained 20 youths in the police training school with a view to accommodate them in the security industry and a second batch of 20 people is undergoing training currently,” said the the district

After the initial hitch, the community’s interest in educating their children is also growing and the demand for education has registered a huge spurt.

At present 60 children are being educated in schools nearby and the dropout rate has declined tremendously. Buoyed by this response, the administration is mulling a hostel for 50 children.

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