NEW DELHI: It was an occasion for the police to hear some horror stories, Sneha told Delhi Police personnel and NGO volunteers at an interaction in the Indian Social Institute on Monday that once she was forced to drink alcohol by a rag picker when she was on her way to a fruit shop. She said she had to stop using that route after that.
Another girl, a 12-year old, talked of a similarly demeaning experience. “I don’t have a toilet at home, so I go to a jungle nearby to relieve myself,” she said.”Whenever I do that, boys double my age make insulting remarks and try to pull my dupatta if I protest.”
Like her, over 100 street children told Delhi Police about their problems, ranging from bullying to sexual threats. Ms. Esha Pandey , DCP in charge of Delhi Police’s Special Police Unit for Women and Children, heard their problems along with volunteers of NGO Chetna. She assured the children of all possible assistance.
The children readily talked of the many ways they were lured into bad habits. Kishan, 10, revealed how he and his friends living near the traffic signal in Sarai Rohilla were drawn towards older boys who consumed drugs in their presence. If his family had not stopped him, he too would have been a drug addict, Kishan shuddered.
Kishore, another 10-year old, similarly recalled his friends being tempted into playing cards by adults. “I saw more than 10 friends becoming addicted to cards and even dropping out from school,” the boy said. “How do I get them back on the right track?” Like the other girls, Komal talked of the sexual harassment that she was subjected to almost daily . “Our elders talk of how important education is and that we can do well only if we are well educated. But how do I get to do that when `uncles’ older than even my father ask me to accompany them to their homes?” said the 12year-old sadly.
Komal recollected how she once pushed away one such `uncle’ who lingered at the park every day waiting for her to pass by. “The next day, he touched me inappropriately and warned me not to `misbehave’ with him. I was so scared that I did not go to school for a fortnight and almost convinced my parents to let me give up studies,” the girl said.
DCP Ms.Esha Pandey promised 15-day-long self-defence classes in localities where children faced such problems. She added that she would also request the DCPs of the districts to take appropriate action.