Tired of being in an abusive marriage, Nakshatra Vani was contemplating divorce. But the police had other plans for her.

At a petition mela held on Sunday, when the police took up her complaint, they turned counsellors. After advising her alcoholic husband to mend his ways and take better care of his family, they promised to keep a tab on him with regular visits to their house in Kannagi Nagar.

Aimed at speedy disposal of grievances, the Chennai police organises petition melas to address complaints submitted to the police commissioner, the Chief Minister’s cell and local police stations.

And Nakshatra Vani’s was one such case. “Her husband Suresh worked at a tea stall in the neighbourhood. On most days, he would return home drunk and harass her. He did not give her money for household expenses and stayed away from home a lot. Nakshatra Vani did odd jobs to take care of their two children,” said N. Mohanraj, assistant commissioner of police, Adyar. Fed up, she lodged a police complaint.

“On Sunday, Nakshatra Vani and her husband were summoned to the mela organised by the Adyar police district at Olcott Memorial High School. Kannagi Nagar crime inspector Anbalagan counselled Suresh and told him he would earn everybody’s love and respect if he behaved and stayed with his family,” said Mr. Mohanraj.

The police also promised to check on Suresh often to ensure he did not return to his old ways. Assured thus, Nakshatra Vani decided to give it another shot and that was how their marriage of eight years was saved, Mr. Mohanraj said, adding that such melas would be held every Sunday.

On Sunday, the melas were held in 12 police districts including Triplicane, Kilpauk, Mylapore, Vadapalani, Besant Nagar and the suburbs. Out of 640 petitions that were taken up, 534 were solved, a police officer said.

“The mela not only disposes off cases faster but also attempts to solve many of the problems faced by petitioners,” the officer said.

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