[Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Malegaon Gajanan Rajmane making apint. On his sides are Chairman JAT Campus Ansari Nehal Ahmed (L) and Jameel Ahmed, a social worker.]
Malegaon: Contrary to general perception, people in Malegaon are peace loving and crime rate here in this Muslim dominated city is significantly less than the cities like Nashik, Baramati and even Manmad, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Malegaon Gajanan Rajmane said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of in-campus Health Care Centre for the students of JAT Educational Complex in Malegaon on Monday, Rajmane also said the Muslims here live in total harmony with Hindus and people from other communities.
“Malegaon is unfortunately infamous for communal riots. But, my experience in the city, vis-à-vis communal tension, is exactly opposite. Whatever little problem is there is common at many places in India”, Rajmane, who is serving as DySP Malegaon City since last more than 03 years, said.
Citing crime statistics of other big and small cities, Rajamane said, “The crime rate in Malegaon is 400 which is far less than the crime rate of Nashik City which is 3000, and that of Baramati which is 1500”, he said.
“What is more important is that the crime rate in Malegaon is significantly less than even places like Manmad – a very small town in terms of population and area, if compared with Malegaon”, he added.
Nashik is the fourth largest city in Maharashtra in terms of population. According to the Census of India, 2011, Nashik had a population of 14,860,53.
According to the 2011 Census, Baramati City has a population of 54,415 (Taluka population 90,912) whereas population of Manmad is 80,058. Population of Malegaon City as per 2011 census is 471,312 and that of Malegaon Urban Region is 576,642.
Rajmane however said that child labour is a big issue in Malegaon which should be tackled on priority basis.
"This is one area where track record of Malegaon is extremely poor", he said.
"It gives a very bad picture of the city when we see children of tender age working here and there at the time when they should be in schools", he added.
Malegaon, one of the major textile hubs in India, has over 2.5 lakh powerlooms, and tea stalls and food corners in almost every street of the city. Children of 5-10 years of age working in powerloom units, and at tea stalls and food corners is a normal phenomenon in the city.
Child labour in Malegaon came to fore very strongly few years back when Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) took a decision to run government schools in single shift - from morning 09:00 to evening 05:00.
"Following the MMC decision, a huge number of students in the government schools suddenly disappeared from their classes. It was learnt after a probe that the majority of children studying in government schools are working in powerloom units or at tea stalls, food corners and restaurants after attending schools in morning shift.
“They chose to drop out from schools as 09:00 am to 05:00 pm timing was disturbing their “job” schedule”, Fayyaz Ansari, a MMC school teacher, said.
School records from Night Schools of the city also show that majority of the children studying here are those who are engaged in work during the daytime while attending schools in the evening.
“Not only the boys, we have girl students who help their mothers at work during the daytime and attend schools in the evening”, a night school teacher, said on the condition of anonymity.
Similar is the case with the only Night College of Maharashtra which is running in Malegaon.
“We have Arts, Science and Commerce streams in our college which is running in the evening. Almost all of our students are coming from very poor family background. They are working during the day and attend college in the evening.
“Some of them are very bright. But, it’s their poor economic condition which does not allow them to join a regular college”, a college staffer said.
Gajanan Rajmane however believes that the problem of child labour can be tackled easily if community leaders decide so and take a pledge.
"Community leaders should come forward and adopt such children who are forced to work because of poverty and other such problems" he added.
"It is these children who are at risk of indulging in crime at their later age. We can further reduce the crime rate in Malegaon if some of us come forward and take care of these poor children", he said while giving the example of some children who were adopted by the police department and are now studying in schools.
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