Close on the heels of the nationwide lockdown, an anxious Chennai based daughter of a 70 year old lady in Trichy, sent me an SOS on Facebook messenger. As district borders were sealed, her ‘home alone’ mother was unable to travel to Chennai.
The next best way to ensure her safety and well being was to have someone periodically check on her. I reached out to my cop friend V.Balakrishnan, Deputy Inspector General of Police – Trichy Range. In a few seconds, came his trademark ‘Yes, We Can’ willingness to help. That the senior citizen was not a resident within his jurisdiction did not matter. Soon enough, local cops gave the septuagenarian a call and visited her.
That was not all. When I texted the DIG a ‘thank you note’, he added. “You may give my number also. If she needs any help I can organise. We have done a similar contact programme for all the senior citizens living alone in all the 5 districts in our range. 1562 such senior citizens have been contacted.” Balakrishnan has a track record of going beyond the call of duty. During the 2015 Chennai Floods when he was the Deputy Commissioner – Mylapore, his work won him awards and a place in the hearts of Chennaiites.
As videos of policemen beating people with lathis across India go viral on the social media, some even patched with insensitive cricket commentary audio, these are stories of outstanding, ‘out of jurisdiction’ service that must also be told. And applauded. The lathi that beats can also morph into a walking stick that helps!
(Sanjay Pinto is an Advocate practising at the Madras High Court, Columnist, Author & Former Resident Editor – NDTV 24X7)