Saturday 21 August 2010

Compassionate City : Gandhigiri by Kerala Police

Police in the City of Kozhikode in Kerala were flooded by complaints of people who lost their motor bikes over the last few months. Many had also lost gold, computers and mobile phones. The Police department was in for surprise, when they arrested more than fifty nine teenagers who were from lower middle class families and some of whom who were as young as 13! What was even more interesting was that many of them were selling it for silly amounts of Rs 3,000.

Kozhikode City Police says, “
Police recovered 15 bikes and seven personal computers stolen by the juvenile group from different locations. Besides, spare parts worth ` Re 1 lakh was also recovered by the police. The teenagers used to steal new motorbikes with prices ranging Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 and put them up for sale at cheap rates ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 to their friends. Many of the juveniles belonged to low-income groups and broken families, but the buyers were from middle-class families. The culprits were utilizing the money received through theft for enjoining costly food, dress and mobile phones. Police will carry out further investigation and are expecting to recover more material evidences”

If the police were to follow regular procedures, they would be taken through routine course of questioning, lock-ups and year-long trials. In a typical loop of social branding as criminals, there is a hardly a way for any of them to be part of the main stream social life. Instead, Police Commissioner P.Vijayan who is credited for starting many new innovative initiatives in social policing including Student Police Cadet Project has turned a new leaf in the history of Kerala Police.

Today saw the most unique intervention of police to explore the possibilities of bringing these arrested youngsters to the mainstream and hence avoiding the near sure destiny of bring criminals of the future. Engaging the likes of palliative care movement (Institute of Palliative Medicine), few City Rotary Clubs and IMHANS (Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) along with a group of socially active citizens, the City Police is attempting to bring the youngsters back into main-stream with social acceptability.

Dr.Jairam Ramakrishnan, consultant Psychiatrist from UK also has been pitched in to provide expert service to the youngsters. Dr. Suresh Kumar, founder director of Institute of Palliative Medicine, popularly known as “poor men’s Doctor” considers such initiatives with public private participation is a beginning to build up a “compassionate city”.

A one-room initiative that was started as a ‘pain clinic’ fifteen years ago in an anesthetist's dressing room in Kozhikode Medical College for bringing in relief to terminally ill patients has now grown into a movement comprising more than 25000 trained volunteers. Self-sustainable 300 palliative centres in Kerala is now spear-heading a social movement, not just restricted to palliative care. No wonder that such a movement is approached by various stake holders to take larger roles in the society.

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