New Delhi,27.07.14: A joint initiative by the East Singhbhum district police and a cultural organisation in Jamshedpur has brought positive change in the lives of drug addicts, petty criminals and street ruffians by schooling them in the art of Chau dance and acting.

There are 35 of them, all slum dwellers of Sonari locality here and aged below 18 years, who are learning the dance and acting from the teachers of "Kala Dham", the cultural organisation based here in the Steel City.

Deputy Superintendent of Police of East Singhbhum district Jagdish Prasad said the initiative was aimed at bringing the misguided youths back to the mainstream.

Prasad said such initiatives would be taken in other areas of the district too.

The teachers are president of Kala Dham Gautam Gope, who is an accomplished theatre actor, Mahavir Mahato, a Chau dance teacher of Manbhum style, and Kuldev Mahato, another Chau dance teacher of Seraikela style.

Gope said, "Some of them used to inhale 'dendrite', an adhesive substance, regularly and indulged in petty crime like theft which led to frequent disturbances in the locality."

Some of them had served three months' imprisonment in the remand home here after a violent clash with youths residing in an adjoining slum, he said.

Gope said the type of Chau dance they were teaching was based on martial art and required physical skill, like somersault, and strength. His team, Gope said, therefore chose the Domuhani riverbed where plenty of sand was available to train them.

Gope takes pride in the fact that the learners, who included some girls, progressed very quickly.

Gope said that a social organization "Free Legal Aid Committee" had arranged a building where the students would be trained free of cost.

The National School of Drama recently invited them to take part in the "Jasn-e-bachapan" competition to be held in Delhi on Children's day on November 14.

"We have sent a CD of these children performing the dance and street play," he said.

The money to run the show mostly comes from staging of street corner plays by his threate troupe for the government, Tata Steel and Unicef, he said when asked about the finance.

"Most of our street corners plays held in rural pockets fetch Rs 900 per play," Gope, who has been performing in street corner plays for the last seven years, said.

Acknowledging the initiative, Officer-in-charge of Sonari police station, Animesh Gupta, said that frequent clashes between rival groups and petty crimes like snatching and brawls had come down in the locality ever since these boys joined Kala Dham