A better tomorrow for juvenile delinquents
New Delhi: Salman was a ruffian as a teenager and often apprehended by police for petty crimes. As a minor, he had even pelted stones and participated in protests over the Karbala land issue in south Delhi. Last year, when he was caught, he wasn’t arrested. Instead, he was enrolled in an emergency medical technician (EMT) course as part of a rehabilitation programme.
Two days ago, Salman, who is now 25, was among 150 youths who had been offered jobs as per their vocational abilities. This job fair was organised by Delhi Police under the Yuva scheme through which juvenile offenders, victims of crime, school dropouts with an inclination towards crime and victims of domestic violence are given a chance to learn and engage themselves in better activities. TOI spoke to a few youths who have been brought into the mainstream.
“I have been in and out of police stations several times, but my proud moment was when I joined the EMT course to provide basic medical help to people. Earlier, we were told to pelt stones every time we spotted a man in uniform, but it is them who have changed my life,” Salman said.
The reformed man lost his parents at a young age. His three sisters are married and he lives in a religious place alone. “One of my criminal cases is now over. Another one is still in court. I had to go to Tihar Jail in connection with one of them. I now believe that, though it is difficult, even criminals can change,” Salman said.
Waqar, who is now 21, and his friend, Manoj (19), were both involved in a molestation case lodged in January. Two days after committing the crime, they surrendered at a police station. Waqar hesitates while speaking about his case saying he has buried his past. “SHO Anil Sharma, who took me into custody, introduced me to the ma’am who conducts the EMT course. I have four brothers and a sister. When I got the job, their happiness had no limits. I have changed and would like to continue this way,” he added.
Following in the footsteps of other juvenile offenders, Manoj also took up a course and ended up getting a job offer on Tuesday.
Rajeev Kumar, the training partner with Delhi Police, said it is difficult to ensure that the juvenile delinquents do not leave the course midway or get distracted. “They have all been criminals or victims of a crime. There are times when some want to give up and stop coming, but we try to keep them glued to the course,” he added.
“Out of the 150 youths, 83 were men and 67 women. In the past two years, we have trained 9,000 people of which 6,500 have been employed,” said joint commissioner (southern range) Devesh Chandra Srivastava.
(Allnamesha vebeen changedtoprotecttheidentityoftheyouths)