B’luru cops give rowdy-sheeters sapling, book and a thread for ‘positive growth’
In the wee hours of January 1, the rowdy-sheeters of Bengaluru’s Attibele area received a call from Circle Inspector LY Rajesh, asking them to show up at the Attibele Police Station at 6.30 am.
The convicts assumed that they were in trouble but 26 of them showed up on time and lined up outside the station.
Imagine their surprise when the Circle Inspector did not reprimand them, but instead gave them a sapling, a book and a thread. From convicted murderers to those involved in petty theft cases, the men were asked to take an oath to reform.
“They thought that they were in trouble as we had asked all of them to come. Some of them were not in town but 26 of them came. We told them that they were not going to be interrogated but we asked them to take an oath to reform. We told them the story of Angulimala, the mythological character – a dacoit who used to attack travellers and rob them. His life changed when he met Gautam Buddha,” CI Rajesh told TNM.
The sapling was given as a symbol of positive growth. The rowdy-sheeters were asked to water the plant regularly. The thread was tied around their wrists after they pledged that they wouldn’t indulge in criminal activities again.
“We gave them the sapling to remind them of positive change,” he said.
CI Rajesh and his team of officers have taken up an initiative to get these rowdy-sheeters jobs, to ensure that they do not go back to crime.
“Nobody chooses to be a rowdy. It depends on the kind of circumstances life has offered them. We just wanted them to know that it is possible to reform. We have doctors from Kidwai Memorial Hospital who help with their counselling. We have already got three of them jobs,” CI Rajesh informed TNM.
The rowdy-sheeters were given the book ‘Karunalu Baa Belake’, a book of short stories written by Gururaj Karajagi.
“These are stories of reform. We just wanted them to be motivated. Currently, we also have the new beat system where one constable monitors the rowdy-sheeters of one village. They check up on them to see their progress after they became employed. If they need counselling or any help, we have asked them to approach us,” CI Rajesh added.
CI Rajesh and his team are also trying to help first-time petty crime offenders.
“There are some who have committed a petty theft for the first time. We want to bring them on to the path to reform. We help them with counselling and figure out what they are interested in, so that we can help them look for jobs,” he added.
CI Rajesh hopes that his initiative will help bring these convicts into the mainstream.
“I don’t know if all of them will reform but even if one or two of them change, it is an accomplishment. We only want them to change and not get back to a life of crime,” CI Rajesh said.