Appearances can be deceptive, and no one knows that better than head constable Salim PK.
Last year in August, a video clip showing an allegedly drunk policeman travelling in the Delhi Metro went viral on social media. It made front page headlines and led to a flurry of TV debates on the safety of metro commuters.
The next day, the then commissioner B.S. Bassi suspended the policeman from duty.
Now, it has been established that Salim’s protestations that he was not drunk were indeed true.
On the evening of 19 August, 2015, he felt sick at work. The policeman reportedly suffered a black-out when he boarded a metro. When the metro came to a halt at the Azadpur station, he lost his balance and fell down which was then interpreted as him being in an 'inebriated state'.
Salim, 50, had suffered a stroke and a blockage in his brain caused a brain haemorrhage that left him paralyzed on the left side. He now suffers from a speech disorder and is in his native state Kerala on three months' medical leave. His wife is reportedly receiving treatment for a stroke she suffered after her husband’s unfortunate humiliation.
While all newspapers reported Salim’s suspension, his subsequent reinstatement in November went unreported.
Within two months of the clip going viral, his suspension was withdrawn and he was reinstated in the force. A police enquiry also found that Salim’s repeated claims that he was not drunk on board the metro were indeed true.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the constable has approached the Supreme Court seeking compensation for the media vilification that “irreparably maligned his image in the eyes of the public."
He has also urged the Centre to take steps to remove the 36-second clip from YouTube and elsewhere.
Salim wants the Delhi government, the state's Metro Rail Corporation, and the Press Council of India to take steps so that he can “regain his lost dignity by publishing the correct factual position in… print and electronic media,” reports the Daily Mail.
Salim's lawyer Wills Mathews told the Daily Mail that if he didn't approach the court, the only option for him was to "suffer in silence".
"It is humanly impossible for him to locate the source of the video, or to take legal action… particularly when [Salim] is half paralyzed," he said.
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