The policeman who won many hearts speaks to NT

A television grab of SI Rashid appealing to motorists in Chennai.

Chennai: Amid a number of viral videos of how policemen are seen beating or asking violators of Section 144 to do sit-ups as punishments, there was one video of a traffic policeman wearing a mask and pleading with motorists on Anna Salai to stay put at home. His video has touched many hearts for the way in which he spoke with his hands folded and tears in his eyes.

A Special Sub Inspector of Traffic Enforcement, R Rashid (50), was on duty at Mount Road on the first day of the lockdown due to coronavirus. But he was let down seeing traffic on a lockdown day. He walked to the middle of the road and gave a short speech.

In his appeal, he said that a virus was spreading and it was better for everyone to be inside their houses. It was a request from him, he said with folded hands.

At this moment, a young two-wheeler rider stepped forward and touched Rashid’s feet. The SSI hesitated and took a few steps backward. Even as the motorist extended a handshake, he responded with a namaste.

Speaking to  News Today, Rashid says that he does not know who made the video and how it went viral. He simply says that when he saw vehicles on the road, he felt he needed to do something on people moving around ‘carelessly’. “Instead of scolding them, I thought this was better.”

“I just wanted to address them and advice them to stay indoors. But as I started speaking, I got a bit emotional”, he says. Rashid adds, “I feel that people were being careless in moving around in the city. I am sure they listened to me. Most of them apologised and said they would go back home.”

Following the viral video, many including his superiors called and appreciated him, he says, stressing that it was not staged. Having served for 25 years in the department, Rashid was earlier with the Motor Transport department and for the past two years, he is with the Traffic Enforcement department.

He says, “I am not excited about the video going viral. If people see it and decided to stay safe indoor, I am happy.” Today he is at his house in Thousand lights as it is a rest day for him. “We work on shifts. It’s better for our health also. While on duty or at home we follow all precautions.”

Good gesture

Taking in to consideration the health of senior policemen, Deputy Commissioner Sudhakar has asked personnel aged above 50 to not come for duty till the coronavirus scare ends. He has asked those who are above 50 with any ailment or health issues to stay at home. He has requested them to take care of their health.


Naomi N