Constable Raj Kamal Meena had not taken a swim in the past eight years. And when he did, it was to save a 12-year-old boy’s life in Rohini’s Bawana area.
“A boy was dying, and I jumped into the canal. If he had died, his death would have been on my hands. I am a policeman, my job is to save lives,” Meena, a constable posted at Khayala police station, told The Indian Express.
On Tuesday afternoon, he was a part of a raiding team looking for a suspect. He was part of a team of three constables, headed by sub-inspector Rajpal.
“We did not find our man. But on our way back, I saw the boy’s hand sticking out of the water… two of his friends were trying to save him by extending wooden sticks.”
The boy, a resident of a JJ colony, was out looking for coins and plates dumped into the canal after a puja ceremony a day earlier. A strong current is believed to have swept him away.
As the boy’s friends wailed, Meena took off his jacket, removed his shoes and took the plunge. “The water was very cold. The last time I swam was in my village in Rajasthan, where every boy was taught to swim. I reached out to the boy and took him out,” Meena said.
As the boy lay lifeless, Meena thumped his chest, and the boy coughed out water. “He kept telling me he was alright. Locals gathered at the spot and I felt the cold taking over my body,” he said.
As policemen arranged to take the boy to Maharishi Valmiki hospital, Meena lost consciousness and red rashes broke out on his face. He was taken to the same hospital, where he remembers the boy’s mother crying beside his bed.
“The boy was okay and left the hospital. I never got his name, I should have,” Meena said.