Rekha Mishra, a cop with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Mumbai, is not an ordinary policewoman. Having rescued over 950 runaway and trafficked children in six years, Rekha was awarded the Nari Shakti Puruskar in 2017 and had her achievements included as a separate chapter in the SSC textbooks in Maharashtra.
In a recent interview with The Humans of Bombay, the 35-year-old opened up about her everyday battles, breaking the glass ceiling and saving lives.
Rekha said that she always wanted to join the Police Force and serve the country. Hence, she applied for the role of sub-inspector and worked hard to prepare for the examinations. The day she cracked the exam, her father instructed her to always work for a cause and not the applause.
She was posted at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus as in charge of preventing the trafficking of women and children. She rescued hundreds of destitute, missing, kidnapped or runaway children from various railway stations in the last few years.
Speaking about one of the incidents, she said, "I helped nab a 45-year-old man who'd kidnapped a 15-year-old girl. He was on the run for 3 days; they were travelling from Goa. The Goa police sent us the girl's picture; my team and I surveyed the station. The situation was tense; I couldn't allow the kidnapper to get away!
As I saw the girl boarding the train, I grabbed her hand and pulled her aside while my team surrounded the kidnapper and arrested him. She cried and yelled, 'Thank you, thank you for saving me!' I registered a case. The kidnapper had molested her and wanted to marry her."
"I'm 35 now, and married, so often the 'when are you going to have children' question is asked to me. I spend 12-14 hours at the station every day and I'm proud of my duty! Children aren't the only things that make a woman, a woman–sometimes it's her ambition, her relentlessness," Rekha said.
The daring super cop hopes that through her actions, girls across the country realise 'they can be the heroine of their lives' and hold the power to write their own stories.