Police turn lives around for Bhiwandi kids

Used to seeing police during raids at their homes, children from Iranian community of chain-snatchers is being provided an education by Shanti Nagar police

One thing that 10 children in Bhiwandi have in common is that their parents are criminals. The cops however, are chasing these kids for another reason altogether. Instead of conducting raids in the vicinity, the Thane police has found a novel approach to make a long-term difference. The cops are funding the education of these children as a step towards reformation.

Jainab Amjad Ali Jaffri was the first to be admitted in school with police aid. Her mother is seen behind her. PICs/DATTA KUMBHAR
Jainab Amjad Ali Jaffri was the first to be admitted in school with police aid. Her mother is seen behind her. PICs/DATTA KUMBHAR

Mohammed Razak Rehmat Jaffri (15), his younger brother Sadak Rehmat Jaffri (14), and sister Sukaina (10) haven't been able to attend school for the last six months. “Their father Rehmat Jaffri is involved in various petty crimes across Bangalore and police from different states used to conduct raids at their residence,” said Mangesh Borse, assistant police inspector, Shanti Nagar police station.

Assistant police inspector Mangesh Borse of Shanti Nagar police station interacts with the members of the Irani community
Assistant police inspector Mangesh Borse of Shanti Nagar police station interacts with the members of the Irani community

Mohammed and Sadak re-joined Huda English Medium School in Bhiwandi two months ago and were admitted in the Std VIII after the police paid R9,000 towards each of their fees. Sukaina awaits admission into Std IV, since it’s late to enroll now in this academic year. “Due to the fear of police for the last six months, we were roaming across Pune, Shrirampur and different states. Some police informers had given false information to police that my children were involved in crime and a raid was conducted at my house,” said Nafisa Rehmat Jaffri, their mother.

Nafisa belongs to a ‘notorious’ community, known as Iranis or Baluchis, mostly involved in chain-snatching, vehicle robberies and illegal gold pawning. Nafisa says most of the men from the community or youngsters don’t sleep in their homes due to the fear of police. “I want my kids to be educated and have a bright future. If any case is registered against them, their future will be spoiled. If they steer clear of petty crimes, they can sleep freely at their residence, without the fear of police,” she added. At present around 10 children this community have been admitted across three different schools by the cops.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Bhiwandi Division, Sudhir Dabhade, along with his officers, met the children two months before the community settled down across Peeranipada and Khan Compound, which is in the Shanti Nagar police station jurisdiction. Dhabade stated, “We repeatedly visited the areas counseling and guiding them about the importance of education so they are not lured into criminal activities.”

Jainab Amjad Ali Jaffri (15) was the first student to be admitted in the ninth standard at Salauddin Ayyubi Memorial English Medium School three months ago. “Jainab’s father was involved in crime and both her parents used to stay in Karnataka, in an attempt to hide from the police. After we held a meeting with the community, we found that she is not attending school and her parents weren’t bothered,” said RD Shinde, Senior Police Inspector.

The current situation is a win-win for all involved.

Nuzhat Siddique, principal of Salahuddin Ayyubi Memorial English Medium School, said, “We appreciate the hard work the police who will prove to be the real heroes for the community.
Reforming the kids will definitely improve the status of the community, which sees many dropouts.”

Nagma Nisar Shiraji (18), a SYBcom student from Chougle College, was the only one girl from the community to have pursued higher education. She claims that her father too is an MBA and though he isn’t involved in crime, the threat of police raids still looms high. Yet, it’s the cops who paid her fees for a foundation course in company secretaryship.

Parambir Singh, Commissioner of Police, Thane, said youngsters are being reformed across Ambivli and Mumbra. Are the police then role models?

Seems so, at least for Mohammed Razak Rehmat Jaffri. He said he’d rather grow up to be a cop than run from state to state in the fear of getting caught.

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