FOR the last few days, this photo of an old lady named Sonwati has been in circulation in social media. Her home? Bidhuna police station, Auraiya district, Uttar Pradesh. Yes, you have read it right. For the last six months, Septuagenarian Sonwati has been residing in the police station after she was dislodged by her family members from…her own house. In fact, she first came to the police station two years ago to lodge a complaint against her family members. She was tired and hungry. The local policemen gave her food. As she continued to come to the police station pursuing her complaint, she started liking the Khaki men and began to stay in the police station itself. The cops allowed her to stay there and arranged her food, sarees and other essential stuff.
For policemen who are often seen as “cruel”, this story of Sonwati may help them improving their image as a compassionate lot, caring about old men and women, abandoned by their own children.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Shiv Raj who was then the circle officer of Bidhuna, treats her as his foster mother, according to media reports. Whenever he visits Auraiya now, he spends time with her. The policemen initially tried to send her back to her own house. They even took the help of the village headman to counsel her and convince her to go back home, but she flatly refused it.
It was DSP Shiv Raj who posted in Facebook his experiences with this old lady, something that went viral. In Twitter too, many citizens showered praise on this unusual gesture by police. Noted journalist Barkha Dutt in Twitter calls it a “lovely story”.
As public poured praise on cops for giving Sonwati her second home, Uttar Pradesh police chief Javeed Ahmed has decided to reward the cops who took this step of giving an old lady a shelter for months.
Yes, with the story of Sonwati doing the rounds in local media and social media, the perception of cops being "cruel" may change a little. But Indian police force needs hundreds Sonwatis to project itself as a highly compassionate and caring security force.