DIBRUGARH, June 5 - Anita Kishan, an adolescent girl from Madhuban Tea Estate near OIL town Duliajan, so far had the notion that cops armed with guns and batons could pounce on any person as and when they desired. �I was never told that police were meant to enforce law, protect us or check civil disorder for the peaceful existence of the society. Growing within the confines of my tea garden with this belief, I was always scared of the police and other armed uniformed personnel,� the adolescent girl told this correspondent after her educational tour to the Sadar PS here recently.
Similarly, Pallabi Guria, another teenager from Hatijan Tea Estate said she was not aware about the vast role of the police officers in the society. �I did not know that anybody can take the help of the police in checking all forms of crimes in society. Earlier, no one had introduced police stations to us. Now I know that in collaboration with the police, we can check illicit sale of liquor, trafficking, child marriage, abuse and exploitation etc., in our areas,� said Guria.
Altogether, 180 adolescent girls from 18 different tea gardens were brought to the Sadar PS as part of the exposure visit organised by Assam Branch of Indian Tea Association (ABITA -1) with support from the UNICEF. Altogether, six such educational visits were organised at the police station by ABITA.
At the concluding exposure visit, some 30 adolescent girls were brought from Bijlibari, Madhuban and Hatijan tea estates.
Earlier, the programmes were organised on May 15, 16, 17, 22 and 23. The girls who benefitted from this visits belonged to Langharjan, Naharkatiya, Desam, Greenwood, Maijan, Nahortoli, Santi, Madhuting, Jutlibari, Rajah Ali, Balijan (H), Zaloni, Chabua, Hati Ali, Sealkottee, Bijlibari, Madhuban and Hatijan tea estates.
Madhurjya Barooah, Secretary of ABITA-1 said that the objective of the exposure visit was to enhance the confidence and knowledge of adolescent girls on various laws and procedures to protect children and women.
�The purpose of the exposure visits was to train and guide the adolescent girls to identify cases of abuse, exploitation and violence against children within the local community and to monitor and report such cases to the local police station,� the ABITA official said.
The visits were facilitated by police officers Mrinal Das and Rimjhim Mahanta of the Sadar PS. The officers also interacted with the adolescent girls.
The concerned officers briefed the girls about the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and Juvenile Justice Act, etc during the visit.
During the interaction, it was observed that the adolescent girls were interested on POCSO Act 2012, how to lodge an FIR against abuse or trafficking of child, prevention of child labour, domestic violence and alcoholism at the community level. Superintendent of Police Gautam Borah and Sidheswar Bora, Officer in Charge of the Sadar PS provided all necessary support for the exposure visits of the tea garden girls, Madhurjya Barooah said. It may be mentioned here that several crimes within the enclaves of plantations, particularly against women and children go unreported due to lack of literacy and awareness among the tea garden workers� community.