On Thursday, Gayatri Rathore (35) took a half-day leave once she found out about a “programme teaching children about bad touch”. With her four children — aged from 9 to 17 years — in tow, Rathore, a domestic help in northwest Delhi’s Bharat Nagar, went to Ramlila Ground to attend ‘Naazuk’ — a Delhi Police initiative to spread awareness about child sexual abuse.
Apart from Rathore, around 100 parents and grandparents, and 400 school children attended the pilot project, which was inaugurated by Commissioner of Police Amulya Patnaik.
“Anjaan logo se toffee nahi leni chahiye, mummy-papa se pooch kar kahi jaana chahiye aur durr waale park mein nahi khelna chahiye,” recited nine-year-old Sakshi, Rathore’s youngest child.
The session won a loud cheer from the children when a skit, “Chuppi Todo”, was staged. Later, a police officer surrounded by eager children, quizzed them about the police station closest to their house, who to approach if in trouble, and the name of the commissioner of police.
“Agar chhed-chhaani ho to mummy-papa ko turant batana hai,” said Kishan (11), who studies at a school in the area.
Patnaik said, “We conducted a study on child sexual abuse cases and Bharat Nagar was one of the clusters where such cases were reported from. Since we have a woman DCP here, I asked her to take the lead.”
DCP (Northwest) Vijayanta Arya said, “Teams will visit playgrounds and residences to reach out to parents and children.”
There were also some lessons for the adults — from picking up signs of distress amongst children, not ignoring them, and explaining to them the meaning of “good touch and bad touch.”
From Wazirpur came Haider Ali (65) with his granddaughter Gungun (10). “This area is not safe, and we often accompany children everywhere. This session is important as it may make the place safer,” said Ali.
For Rathore, however, the event will help raise her children differently. “My 17-year-old daughter has led a very restricted life and doesn’t go out at all. She tells me about eve-teasing in the area. If this becomes a safer place, I wouldn’t be so strict,” she said.