My name is Salim and I was not Drunk!
On 22nd Aug 2015, the prime time debate topic for our news channels was a drunk cop riding Delhi Metro. Next day it was in the headlines of almost all national dailies. Media kept shouting at top of their voice for days. None of the media houses wanted to lose the race of sensationalism & TRP.
Caught on camera: Drunk Delhi Police cop tumbles in a Delhi Metro (Amateur video/Undated) pic.twitter.com/8oPN3DucM8
— ANI (@ANI) August 23, 2015
— News18 (@CNNnews18) August 22, 2015
Delhi Metro is known for it’s concern about security & safety. Police is there to protect people. But when a drunk cop boards Delhi Metro it is enough to make people concerned. It was reflected on Social Media. It became a trending topic on Twitter & Facebook. The cop, later identified as Salim PK was suspended a couple of days after media picked it up from SM and started reporting.
Our media is known for creating mountains out of a molehills. This time there wasn’t even a molehill but media created a mountain. The source of this whole saga was an amateur video [Watch it on YouTube] posted by some commuter on his Facebook page. The AAP youth wing official FB page and many AAP leaders and supporters highlighted the issue. The same media which in the JNU anti-national sloganeering case, tried to sting the sting and prove the whole case fake because 2 of 7 videos had poor audio-video sync, didn’t even bother to think twice before making it prime-time news & morning headline.
Mr. Salim, a dedicated cop, who was posted at Civil Lines police station as head-constable, had some serious health conditions.
He had suffered a major stroke three years ago. There was a block in his brain leading to brain hemorrhage that left him with a paralysed left side, a contorted face along with memory loss, body weakness and difficulty in normal communication. He was repeatedly hospitalised and suffered occasional seizures. He was on medication with regular medical checkups. Salim was shifted to a desk job from security duty following his illness.
On the evening of August 19, 2015, Salim felt sick at work. But he decided to stay on till duty ended at 9:30 pm. He had put in long hours and had not taken his medicines the previous day.
After boarding the metro, he suffered a fresh bout of blackout and felt so dizzy that he had difficulty in even locating the doors of the train.
He began to swing from side to side inside the coach and when it came to a halt at the Azadpur station, he lost his balance and came crashing down on the floor.
Little did Salim know that someone would make a video and that he would soon make national and international headlines as the drunk cop who boarded the metro.
After this incident his life was torn apart. He had to move Hon Supreme Court. After a battle of two months he was reinstated into services. [Source]
It was not only Salim who suffered, his family bore the brunt too. Reportedly shattered by the ignominy, his wife suffered a heart attack. It left a blot on the face of Delhi Police too. First its image was maligned and now they have to answer poor handling of the issue.
But why would media indulge in such glaring lapses?
The media appears unapologetic. It seems to blame social media for Salim’s troubles. Even if that is true, wasn’t it media channels & newspapers who made a national issue of an amateur FB video without verifying it’s veracity. The suspension came after media started reporting the issue and calling Salim “drunk cop”. We don’t know what the media’s motivations were but we do know that it did suit AAP’s narrative against the Delhi police, and the Central government by extension. Media pressure would be an important factor in the hurried decision by Delhi Police.
Delhi Police also cannot escape the blame, for it succumbed to propaganda and acted in haste. It failed Salim! But Delhi police rectified it’s error within two months of the suspension, reinstated Salim and assigned the two months as ‘paid leave’. The media did not report this reinstatement then, it ignored the story. The story seems to have been picked up now only because Salim has decided to move the courts for his defamation. At this point, public opinion should stand up for Salim and implore & pressure all those responsible for Salim’s plight to take accountability. This is the only way Social Media can redeem itself.