The Shamli Police’s official Twitter handle Friday shared a video of the district’s Superintendent of Police massaging the feet of a kanwaria, accompanied by a message announcing a diagnostic camp for yatris passing through the district.
When contacted, SP Ajay Kumar Pandey told The Sunday Express that he did so without “ego” since the man looked tired. The Shamli Police tweet was accompanied with the text: “Suraksha ke saath saath seva bhi (Not just protecting people but serving them too).”
Pandey said: “The canvas of modern day policing is very broad. Police has a lot of roles to maintain, including investigation, law and order, etc. Compassion and humanity are also part of it. The police cannot maintain a distance from the people. When policemen can help injured people and give them first aid, can an SP not offer a weak person some comfort? Imagine walking for 200-300 km, hungry and thirsty. If they fall due to weakness, people will say police do not have ‘protective approach’.”
“It is up to people to interpret it the way they want. It was done to send out a good message that we are there to help.”
In the 24-second video, the SP is seen giving a foot massage to an 18-year-old kanwar while asking about his health.
When contacted, DIG, Saharanpur Range, Upendra Kumar Agarwal, said, “In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in it. It is one’s personal initiative to serve kanwarias. Some policemen are serving kanwarias by distributing fruits, a few taking them to the hospital for treatment. SP Shamli served the kanwaria in his own way. No senior officers have inquired or sought any report so far about the video.”
The PRO of the SP (Shamli) said: “The medical camp is equipped with instruments required for proper physiotherapy of the devotees, but the SP gave them a personal foot massage because he wanted to serve the devotees with his hands.”
Hours after the video was released, SP Kumar and district magistrate Akhilesh Kumar showered rose and marigold petals on kanwar pilgrims, who reciprocated the gesture by dancing on streets, raising slogans of Yogi Adityanath zindabad.
The chopper then flew over Muzaffarnagar where the Shamli SP and DM were joined by SSP (Muzaffarnagar) Abhishek Yadav and other local officials who waved to devotees from the chopper and then showered them with petals.
“This is the Indian tradition of welcoming our guests with roses and Lord Shiva devotees are our revered guests and hence we welcomed them in our land with the gesture,” said Yadav.