To add to the outing, students were treated to ice-creams, chocolates and biscuits at the stations

Sub-Inspector J. Lalitha was stumped for a moment when a packed room of school students hurled questions at her, and a boy among them asked, “Can I give a complaint against my headmaster who hits me?”.

The police woman, who was explaining the F.I.R. and the functioning of a station, replied “complaints against anyone can be brought to the notice of the police.”

Monday was an eventful day for select students from over 200 schools in the city. They received a red carpet welcome at nearly 84 police stations, where they spent nearly a period in the police station closest to their school to learn about its functioning as well as clarify pertinent questions that they always had.

The interaction was organised by Chennai City Police and non-governmental organisation Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse, to commemorate World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse that falls on November 19.

For a majority of the children, it was their first visit to a police station. A few students of R.B.A.N.C Higher Secondary School, Pudupet, said they were thrilled as they sat on the Sub-Inspector's chair.

From serious to naughty to informative, children fielded questions on the police officials to have them all answered patiently.

In between a few questions on how soon a case is cleared or a kidnapped child rescued, C. Damodaran, class XI student of Dr. Ambedkar Government Higher Secondary School, Egmore, squeezed in his question. “I lost my bicycle five years back and I also lodged a complaint, but I haven't found it. Will I find it?,” he asked, to which even Inspector P. Subramani, Egmore Police Station, smiled. Do policemen take a bribe? Who are goondas?, How is an encounter planned?, When children go missing within how many days do you trace them and how do find them? …were some of the questions.

To add to the outing, students were treated to ice-creams, chocolates and biscuits at the stations.

Police officials explained to the visiting school students what they see in films is not true and that this activity was to dispel notion among children that police are inapproachable.

According to Vidya Reddy, founder, Tulir, who is conceptualising the programmes, on Friday two students from every school who visited the police station will participate in a quiz on child rights and civil responsibility.

The shortlisted students among them would dine with the Commissioner of Police.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012