Published: 22nd June 2018
Woman RPF from Mumbai makes her way into the textbooks for reuniting missing children with their families
She remembers when she had rescued three Tamil girls, who had claimed that they had been kidnapped and had managed to sneak out from the kidnappers' clutches
Rekha Mishra, the policewoman attached to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) in Mumbai has made her way into the school textbooks for her efforts in reuniting the 'missing' children with their families. Born in an Army family in Allahabad Rekha (32) has been posted at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station since 2014 and has been credited with rescuing 434 destitute, missing, kidnapped or runaway children.
"Since trains terminate here the children are left with no alternative and that is how most of the runaway children end up at this station," Rekha said. The first boy she rescued had run away from his home in Thane after a petty fight with parents. She found him sobbing at a secluded corner of a platform from where long-distance trains leave.
"I went to him. Spoke a lot to him to make him speak in turn and got to know that he had run away from home. Then I kept on chatting with him and got the contact details of his parents. We then called them here and handed him over to them. He was reluctant but went along with them after a lot of persuasion," she said.
Since that day back in 2014, Rekha has developed the knack to identify such children, befriend them, extract information from them on their hometown and contact details of parents. During the period, Rekha has also mastered the chore of formalities that the police have to complete before they could get the children back to their parents or to the children's home. She remembers when she had rescued three Tamil girls, who had claimed that they had been kidnapped and had managed to sneak out from the kidnappers' clutches. "We didn't knew each others' language. I caught hold of a Tamil women commuter and asked her to be a translator for us. I had stayed back at the station for 48 hours that time," Rekha said.
"The biggest thing, in my opinion, is that the RPF has now been sensitised to the issue. From our several WhatsApp groups I keep on getting information on some or the other children found on some or the other railway station and the efforts taken by our colleagues to reunite such children with their families," Rekha said.
Rekha says that while her seniors always encouraged her to pursue this activity, being a woman the talent required for this kind of a job naturally came to her. "Being women comes with several advantages. In my case, it comes in the form of the trust that I can instil in the minds of these children even though I'm in uniform. That helps me in extracting information from them easily," she said.
After the news came that the Maharashtra State Board's Class 10 textbook in Marathi this academic year will carry a chapter on her, she was felicitated at a special function organised by Central Railway General Manager D.K. Sharma."It's a moment of great pride for me. But, more than that the issue of runaway or kidnapped children has come to fore. That is an important thing," she said while speaking at the felicitation function.