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United we stand: ‘Jama Masjid under ‘community policing’

Faced with a high frequency of communal clashes and tensions, the police in the Jama Masjid area of Old Delhi have come up with a unique and innovative way to deal with the problem.
Officers started ‘community policing’ to ensure harmony in the area in May.

The programme was started by the Jama Masjid police station that looks after one of the most densely populated areas of Delhi. With around 4 lakh people living in the area, 80 per cent of whom belong to the minority community, the police were faced with communal strifes on a regular basis.

‘The area is the most sensitive zone of the capital, where cases of strifes between the minority and the majority communities are common,’ a senior police officer said.

The officers stationed at the Jama Masjid police station often conduct meetings to take stock of tensions that may grow into major strifes. Various welfare association heads along with heads of market associations are called in at these meetings to look for amicable solution to issues.

‘We conduct weekly meetings with the association heads to take stock of their problems and find a solution to the issue,’ a police officer said. He said most cases involve either a property dispute or erupt over parking vehicles in the narrow lanes or sharing water.

The Jama Masjid police station also runs a ‘yuva (youths) training programme’ to channelise their energies in a positive direction. Unemployed youths, including women, get rigorous training and grooming up sessions to help them face job interviews and find meaningful employment.

The move follows calls from academicians and social workers to engage with youths at the community level in the aftermath of the 16 December gangrape case to prevent such incidents from happening again.

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