“I never thought that I could become someone’s role model. Maharashtra government’ move has made me feel powerful; I want to do more for the society,” says RPF sub-inspector Rekha Mishra to The Logical Indian. She has become part of state board’s class 10th textbook in Marathi from this academic year. Rekha is credited with rescuing hundreds of distressed children from the railway station in past few years.
The 32-year-old has been lauded for her tireless work for the children. In last two years, she has rescued 434 runaways and trafficked children from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai.
Rekha came to Mumbai in 2015 as a sub-inspector. She says that during her training period, she used to travel in trains spreading awareness among children, elderly, and women about their rights.
“Roaming around from one station to another, I saw a lot of children living on the platform and many involved in wrong habits like drinking or abusing drugs. When I notified my seniors about these problems, they encouraged me to help the children,” adds Rekha.
The railway board, under the ministry of railways, has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for ensuring care and protection of children in contact with the railways. Sub-Inspector, Rekha Mishra, aware of her challenging duties, fully participated in the initiative and helped many children.
Talking from her experience, she said, a lot of children leave their home after being scolded by their parents or elders. In some cases, we have found out that children run away from their homes because of a constant quarrel between their parents.
Emphasising on the need for better parenthood, she added that sometimes parents do not rationalise, they become very strict with their ward for studying or some other thing. “As parents, they should understand that how this can affect their children,” says SI Rekha.
“We rescued a 13-year-old from Thane, who ran away from his house after his father scolded him for going out with his friends and not doing his homework. When I found him at CMST station he was crying and was very scared, I stayed with him the entire night and waited for his parents to come and receive him,” told Rekha while speaking to The Logical Indian.
Once we rescue the children, they are brought to the notice of Child Welfare Committee (CWC). The Child Welfare Committee conducts a medical test and helps in tracing their parents, and if unable to do so, RPF and CWC also seek the help of various NGOs for the children’s accommodation.
According to Rekha, there should be more women in the police department. She says that in a lot of incidences when a girl sees a woman cop on the railway station or on the road, they feel free to approach the policewoman directly.
A native of a small village, Kangiya, near Allahabad in UP, Rekha completed her M.A in English from Allahabad University. “I was a very athletic kid during my school and college time, and I had to go to many places for my sports events. My father never restricted me from going anywhere. My parents have always been my backbone,” said Rekha very proudly.
Daughter of an Army soldier, Rekha feels she must serve the nation. She says that it is not something unusual that she is doing, she is just doing her work in helping the children.
Speaking about challenges in her profession, she says it is difficult for the policemen and women to have mental peace and personal life after very long shifts. “I work more than 12 hours sometime, and I don’t get any time for my family,” says the newly-wed sub-inspector Rekha Mishra.
In 2017, Sub-Inspector Rekha Mishra was awarded the Nari Shakti award and the FCCI smart policing award among others in recognition for her exemplary service to the society.