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Anju Mangla wasn’t scared, but she mulled over the offer — to look after a men’s cell — for a while. “I had to accept the challenge, so I made myself mentally strong for the job,” said Mangla, the first woman superintendent to be in-charge of a men’s cell in Tihar Jail. On Saturday, she was awarded by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhavan, as part of ‘First Ladies’ — an initiative by the WCD Ministry to felicitate women behind ‘firsts’ in their fields. Mangla never thought much about making history.
“All I knew is, wherever I am posted, I will give 100 per cent and make a difference.” She was posted in Tihar Jail in 2013, and looked after the women’s cell for over two years.
“They saw my work and offered me this position,” Mangla, now in-charge of CJ-5, which houses about 900 young offenders between ages 18 and 21, said.
“The 18-21-year-olds are aggressive and immature. They think they know everything,” said Mangla. So, she decided to interact with each one personally to understand their problems.
“They fall into crime because they don’t have family guidance. We developed a programme to address drug abuse, education, skill development and recreational activities like dance, music, painting,” she said. “In a year, about 5,000 young offenders come to prison. If I can change the mindset of even half, my work is done,” she said.