Head Constable Seema Dhaka has become the first Delhi Police officer to get an out-of-turn promotion (OTP) for tracing 76 missing children and reuniting them with their families in a record 60 days. 56 of these children are under the age of 14.
A farmer’s daughter from Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district, Dhaka said she had always aspired to join the police force and achieved her dream when she was inducted into the Delhi Police in 2006.
“I am happy and content with the reward and recognition that I have got for my work. Such OTPs encourage us to put in a lot more effort,” she said. Dhaka added that she never imagined she would become an Assistant Sub-inspector so early in her career as, in her own words, it takes, at last, a decade to be promoted from the head constable.
Dhaka has served in a number of districts throughout the national capital, including Outer District and Rohini. When she was promoted to head constable in 2014, she was posted to South-East Delhi. In 2017, she was transferred to Outer North Delhi district.
Dhaka, experienced in handling the investigation of molestation cases, said she had a lot on her plate but wanted to do more. On hearing about Delhi Police Commissioner SN Srivastava’s out-of-turn promotion initiative for cops involved in tracing missing children, Dhaka was motivated to take up more cases.
“I requested my seniors to allow me to trace missing children. I also assured them that the cases I am already working on won’t suffer or their investigation won’t get delayed,” she said, adding her seniors trusted her.
Dhaka then set a target of two months to locate the missing children. Most of her cases involved children who had been separated from their families and disappeared years ago, with some of these cases dating as far back as 2013. “Those cases were not solved back then, but I started gathering inputs and solved them,” she said.
Dhaka said other than the police, locals also helped her trace and reunite missing children with their families. “When people came to know what I was trying to do, they started giving more inputs,” she said.
Dhaka said she did not hesitate to take up cases that were not under the criteria for OTPs — cases in which the children in question were over 14 years old. “I did not hesitate in taking those cases because my aim was to recover as many kids as possible,” she said.
Dhaka said she was inspired to join the police because of a neighbour back home. “‘Bhaiya’ always used to narrate stories of his investigation that inspired me to join the force,” she said.
It is not just about job satisfaction for Dhaka, who views it as social service. She said she appreciates the blessings she gets from parents after they are reunited with their children.
A mother of an eight-year-old boy, Dhaka said she could not go home to her family as work kept her busy. Her husband, also ahead constable from her batch, watches their son while she is away.
“My son would count days. He would remind me that I haven’t met him in so many days,” she recalled, adding that her in-laws have also been supportive of her drive to find missing children.
Dhaka’s passion for locating missing children will not decrease after the promotion. In fact, she said, the OTP has encouraged her to further her work.