Cops give juveniles reason to smile

Cops give juveniles reason to smile

Police station offers theatre classes

They did not know what to do with their lives. Children and young men below 20 years, living in slums in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj, just loitered around the area day after day. Some even took to crime.

Now, officials at Vasant Kunj South police station have begun an programme to keep the kids busy, and build their confidence.

“There is a very old phrase ‘an empty mind is the devil’s workshop’. After watching these kids over a year, we realised that we have to take somee initiatives to divert their energy to positive things,” said Gagan Bhaskar, station house officer.

Special programme

With the help of Delhi University students, he began a special art and drama programme for  youths between the ages of 16 and 20 living in the slums in his jurisdiction.

“There are five slums in our area. We first identified the youths and juveniles who are jobless, and approached around 200 of them for this programme. We also approached DU students to train these kids,” said Bhaskar.

Now, these kids attend acting classes organised in their locality by students.

There are given ideas about street plays, and told about their importance. Kids in hundreds have shown an interest in the ongoing programme.

Youths who were earlier scared of policeman now interact freely with them and discuss studies and creative courses.

A slum kids said, “Earlier, I was very scared but I began to realise that the policeman in front of me was just a human being and not a monster.”

Street play

Seeing their enthusiasm, Bhaskar has decided to form a group of around 20 kids to perform street plays at various places in the city. Like any other theatre group they will charge money, Bhaskar said.

The main objective is to bring hope to kids who live in poverty and without supervision.

“Children living in slums have little access to recreational facilities. Their early life is exposed to abuse, abject poverty, exploitation and discrimination that leads them into the crime world,” he said.

The officer said if this initiative is successful, he will form several theatre groups and start many more such programmes in his area.

Earlier, another official, Ajay Chaudhry, additional commissioner of police of south east Delhi had begun a coaching centre at Jamia Nagar police station for students from economically weaker sections, particularly Muslims, to help them prepare for competitive examinations.

Chaudhry had also opened a library-cum-counselling centre for the aspirants. It has been running since February 22 and around 25 students visit it every day.

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