19-Year-Old Rape Convict Dons the Chef's Hat to Turn Around His Life
The youth enrolled himself in Delhi Police's community policing scheme Yuva, which not only provides training to convicts but also helps them secure jobs.
Image for representation. (Reuters)
New Delhi: A nineteen-year-old rape convict in Delhi may have never thought that he could lead a respectable life again but armed with his culinary skills and support from the Delhi Police, he is slowly but steadily trying to redeem himself.
An inmate at a juvenile correction home in Delhi’s Majnu Ka Tila for a year, the youth is a chef now with specialisation in Chinese food and earns a monthly income of Rs 15,000.
The 19-year-old, who was always interested in cooking, is careful about not bringing up his past at his workplace for the fear that he could be discriminated against.
“My life has completely changed with this job. Of course, there’s an ugly history and I can’t ever get away with it. I am always going to be guilt-stricken for what I did. I never thought I would be able to lead a normal life. But I am trying to,” he said.
The journey, however, was not easy. After coming out of the correction home, the first thing he did was change his locality to avoid his past.
“I did wrong to a girl who was my neighbour. We used to talk but one night, under the influence of alcohol, I committed the biggest mistake of my life. After coming out of the facility, I changed the locality so that those lanes, roads and people don’t remind me of my mistake. I want to move ahead in life,” he confessed.
The 19-year-old, who was a Class 10 student when he committed the crime, said he always wanted to study and “do something good in life”. The incident changed him, he said, remembering how his parents and siblings were in denial about his conviction.
“I would pray to god to get my life back on track. I never liked staying at the correction home. It was a jail of a different kind. I used to cry. I used to avoid other children. Majority of them would talk about crime. I was afraid of becoming a criminal. That’s why I wanted to keep myself away from them,” he said.
He said though he thought of continuing his studies inside the correction home, he did not appear for his matriculation. “After attending classes in the morning, I used to cook for the children there. Once I was done with my work, I would sit with the superintendent so that I could avoid other children,” he said.
It was the official who suggested that the 19-year-old undergo training for three months under the Delhi Police’s community policing scheme, Yuva. Under the scheme, youngsters between the age group of 17 and 25, who mostly come from underprivileged colonies, are school dropouts, juvenile offenders and even victims, are provided training.
The Yuva Scheme was started a year ago and around 2,900 youngsters have availed of it in eight police stations. Of these, 198 were referred to training centres outside the police stations. Several job fairs and placement drives were conducted to help the youngsters secure jobs. They were also provided vocational training.
“We check the background of trainees. If they have a criminal background, we ensure the person does not develop an inferiority complex. In fact, we counselled such trainees and their parents. We teach them personality development, communication skills and then specialised training depending on the course they pick,” said Ammad Akhtar, skill consultant.
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