Rehabilitating children is a good challenge for me, says Mumbai cop who has rescued 953

Speaking at Democracy Wall, sub-inspector Rekha Mishra said she always knew she wanted to do something good for the country.

New Delhi: Identifying and rehabilitating runaway children is a good challenge and makes her feel good about the fact that she had helped their parents, said Railway Police Force sub-inspector Rekha Mishra. The Railway Police Force sub-inspector, who has been posted in Mumbai for three years, says she has already rehabilitated 953 runaway children.

Mishra was in conversation with ThePrint’s Associate Editor, Manasi Phadke, at Somaiya Vidyavihar in Mumbai.

Democracy Wall is a monthly free speech campus initiative organised by ThePrint in collaboration with Facebook. The third edition of the event featured Mishra, MP Baijayant Jay Panda, actor Tannishtha Chatterjee, author Amish Tripathi, constitutor Meghnad, and comedian Shyam Rangeela.

Roadblocks surmounted

Mishra said it wasn’t always easy for her to help children due to barriers in language. For instance, three girls from Chennai who had been kidnapped and brought to CST, but only spoke Tamil, and couldn’t understand her.

The sub-inspector said that she managed to find someone who spoke Tamil, and later also found that cases of kidnapping had been filed by the girls’ parents.

“I called the local police and the girls’ parents to come and take them home,” she said.

Another roadblock that Mishra spoke about were parents, who did not even realise that their children had been missing for over two days.

“Identifying and rehabilitating such children is a good challenge for me and I feel good that I have helped these parents,” she said.

Ensuring proper rehabilitation

Mishra, who hands over the custody of lost children to the government’s Child Welfare Committee, said that they ensure that the child wants to return home.

“The child has the full freedom to decide whether or not to go back with their parents. If the child seems unwilling to go home, under no condition do we send them back to their parents,” Mishra said, adding that the child can stay in the custody of the CWC until they have made up their minds.

Mishra also said that she visits the CWC regularly to take feedback from the children and to ensure that they are being looked after properly.

“We send the child to CWC but we need to ensure he/she isn’t going missing in between or being forced into child labour. We ensure that they are getting proper food, clothes and schooling at CWC, as they should be,” she said.

Divya Narayanan

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