The Surat police will carry out a campaign for children between 14 years and 17 years of age in schools and residential societies to make them aware of the negative aspects of elopement at such an age.
Taking note of the rise in the incidents of under-age girls and boys eloping, the police decided to conduct the awareness campaign for students from Class 9 to Class 12 in government schools. Police will also explain to them about the POCSO Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
“The drive is to create awareness among teenagers who are between 14 years and 17 years of age, when one gets attracted to the opposite sex. Our teams of 52 child welfare police officers and child psychiatrists will explain to them about various aspects of elopement at such an age. Children in schools and slum areas in the city will be covered under this. We will also print a book with some of the cases in Surat and distribute it among them, for which the write-up has been prepared by child psychologist. Our aim is to discourage teenagers from elopement,” said Vidhi Chaudhari, Deputy Commissioner of police Zone 3.
The campaign will be carried out under Suraksha Setu scheme by the Surat police with co-operation with child psychiatrist Dr Laita Shah, paediatrician Dr Ketan Bharadwa and their teams. The Surat police have trained 52 male and female personnel as Child Welfare Police officials to carry out the campaign.
The teams will go to schools and explain the pros and cons of elopement when under age and create awareness among them to not take any such decision till the girl turns 18 and the boy turns 21. The team will also make short films to generate awareness.
Under Suraksha Setu scheme, the Surat police earlier carried out a programme on ‘Good touch and bad touch’ among primary girl students in the city. “The good and bad touch drive for minor children is still going on. We have already covered around 6 lakh minors girls under the programme. We have also printed calendars with photographs of good touch and bad touch and also short films to enable children understand easily. We have also advised the parents about the measures they should take. In majority of the rape cases on minor girls, we have found that the accused are known to the family,” said Chaudhari.