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Thirty men sit cross-legged on benches, their hands resting on their knees and fingers in the classic ‘Chin Mudra’ position. Most participants have their eyes closed, but a few can’t help taking a peek at the policemen standing nearby.

It’s a yoga class organised by the HAL police for neighbourhood troublemakers out on bail, and leading the session is an ex-convict.

The idea of the exercise is to help charge-sheeted individuals — all of whom have cases pending against them, but are out on bail — with anger management. Leading the class is 30-year-old Kiran, who gave up a life of crime to become a fitness expert and yoga teacher. On Sunday morning, Kiran, clad in a striped shirt and a pair of trousers, held a two-hour-long yoga ‘pranayama’ session.

The HAL police have around 60 ‘history sheeters’, and last Sunday morning, half were called to report to the station. But instead of simply questioning them and giving them manual work, as is the norm, the police decided to try something different. “We don’t want it to be a punishment. We keep tabs on all ‘rowdies’ in the jurisdiction, and we knew that Kiran had become a fitness and yoga expert. We asked him to conduct this session,” said Sadiq Pasha, Inspector, HAL.

Kiran decided to start with ‘pranayama’, as the breathing exercises have a calming effect. “Until a few years ago, I kept bad company, and was branded a rowdy. It’s a life-long regret I will have,” said Kiran, who has steered clear of crime over the past year and a half. “Now I have a chance to prove to myself that I can be a good citizen and help others through yoga.”

After the session, over tea and snacks, the police and the participants discussed ways to tackle crime. Mr. Pasha is keeping his fingers crossed that regular yoga sessions will prove beneficial. “Anger and ego are the root cause of crime. If we can tackle that, we can bring about change,” he said. It’s early days yet, but the HAL police intend to continue with this novel exercise.