It all began when several villagers complained to the police about being hit by ball on their way to the temple, where the boys had been playing.
To ensure that people approach the police without any hesitation, and the officials, in turn, are friendly and community-oriented, Kerala had launched the Janamaithri Suraksha Project in 2008, making it probably the only state in the country to set up police stations upon the foundations of community policing.
But you surely wouldn’t think that these cops, when faced with a complaint by temple-goers about repeatedly being hit by a ball on their way to the sanctum sanctorum, would arrange for a ground for youngsters to play in so that the temple ground was left alone?
But this is precisely what officers at Puthoor Janamaithri police station did!
The youngsters of Thazhathu Kulakkada, a small village in Kollam district of Kerala, would play on the temple ground, as there was no other area where they could play. The only other option was a panchayat stadium, but they stayed away from it, as it had not only become overgrown with wilderness but was also a highly dubious meeting point.
Following several incidents of pedestrians suffering injuries after being hit, the issue came to the light of cops who asked the boys to find another ground to play in. Amidst talks, the youngsters stated that they would begin playing at the panchayat ground if it became safe again.
The cops decided to help out and immediately got to work. From clearing the wild plants using earthmover to removing empty alcohol bottles from the premises of the stadium, the team led by Sub-Inspector V Jayakumar and Police Association councillor and civil police officer Vinod Kumar also began to patrol the area at night to stick by the promise they made.
“The disused stadium benefited nobody. The panchayat will make a plan for the maintenance of the stadium and implement it diligently,” Panchayat president G Saraswathy told Manorama, a local Malayalam daily.