Thirty-three-year-old Delhi cop Seema Dhaka became an overnight inspiration after she got an out-of-turn (OTD) promotion for rescuing 76 missing children.
Recalling the past three months, Seema, who has now been awarded the rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), says, “I didn’t rest for a single day, and couldn’t give time to my family and my son who is in Class 3. The target was to rescue 50 kids in a year, but I rescued 76 in 2.5 months, and took 15 days to prepare the report.”
The rescued kids were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), after which a few were shifted to shelter homes, others reunited with families and the ones who had turned to drugs were sent to rehabilitation centres.
A major hurdle in locating these kids was that the addresses and mobile numbers of the complainants in cases from 2013-14 had changed. “But SHO Ashish Kumar supported me, even if it meant I needed staff at 1:00am,” adds Seema, a resident of Sector 22, Rohini, who originally belongs to Bhajju village near Shamli in Uttar Pradesh.
Since childhood, Seema says she has been outgoing, fearless and a worthy competitor in all co-curricular activities. “I had thought of becoming a teacher because many of my family members are into this profession.” With that dream she enrolled for a BA degree at a college in Sisoli. “In 2005, some college friends filled up the Delhi Police forms, and I followed them thinking it will be a good chance to visit Delhi,” adds Dhaka. While six of them got shortlisted after the physical exam, three got selected after the written test, “and only I got selected from my college as a constable after the interview.
I was just 20, and it was the happiest moment of my life. I had never dreamt of doing anything this big.”
However, Seema’s family cautioned her that working in the police department was no cakewalk. “But I was adamant to join the force. In my 14 years of service, not once have I felt that joining the police force was a bad decision.” In 2008, Seema met her husband Anit through a cousin, as the three of them were in the same platoon. “His family met my parents and we got married in 2009.
He is a head constable in North Rohini district. We discuss all our cases, and help and support each other. He even accompanied me to the locations I had to visit, when the staff at my station was not available,” adds Seema, who is posted at Samaypur Badli and whose primary duty is to register and investigate molestation cases and attend to arrangement duties.
Most of the calls from the victims come at night, and Dhaka has to immediately leave home to reach them, mostly alone in her car. “If I see anyone in need of help on the road, I make sure to stop and assist them,” she adds. Seema says she’s lucky to have supportive in-laws who handle the home chores. “So, I can just concentrate on my work and my son’s studies. If I forget to bring my tiffin to work, my mother-in-law sends my father-in-law to deliver it.
Wherever I am, she will call to make sure that I have eaten my lunch.” To make up for the time she is unable to spend with family and friends, Seema cooks for them whenever she gets free time. “With all the attention I have been getting, my responsibilities have also doubled. For now, I want to continue doing my duty with utmost sincerity,” Seema signs off.
On the job
Dhaka’s primary role is to register and investigate molestation ases. Most of the calls from the victims come at night, and Dhaka has to immediately leave home to reach them, mostly alone in her car.