Delhi police constable Sandeep Kumar was aged only five when he learnt how to swim. It became his favourite game as he spent his childhood swimming with friends in Munak canal that flows close to his native home in Haryana’s Rohat village near Sonepat.
Though his swimming skills played no role in getting him the constable’s post, it did bring commendations to him from his seniors for displaying exemplary bravery, when he saved a 25-year-old man from drowning in the canal in outer Delhi.
On Wednesday night, Sandeep Kumar, currently posted in the police control room, was driving a patrol van near Khera Khurd village with the van in-charge assistant sub-inspector Ashok Kumar when they received a call at 8.24 pm. The caller claimed that a man had jumped into the canal.
“We were 2 kilometers away from the spot, but rushed and reached there within five minutes. Some locals who had seen the man jumping into the canal were screaming for help. As it was dark, the headlights of some cars parked near the canal were turned towards the spot where the man had jumped,” said the constable.
The two policemen immediately took out the emergency commando torch they carried in their van and located the point in the canal where the man was drowning. Without caring for his life, the constable jumped into the freezing water with his uniform and shoes on, the moment he saw the man submerging into the water.
“Sandeep had to swim over 20 feet in the bone-chilling cold water to reach the victim and rescue him. Ashok and some locals pulled the two out of the canal. The victim was badly injured and unconscious when he was brought back to the dry surface,” said Sanjay Baniwal, special commissioner of police (operations).
The man was rushed to Maharishi Valmiki hospital that was around four kilometres from the spot. During the brief journey, the ASI kept the man on his knees and in such a way that it allowed the victim drain water from his lungs.
“Doctors told us that they could not have saved the man, had there been a delay of a minute or two,” said a senior officer in the department, adding that the victim was identified as Vikas, a resident of Nithari village in Aman Vihar. Vikas’s family members were informed about the incident, and they thanked the two policemen for saving his life. Vikas was reportedly under depression and had attempted suicide by jumping into the canal. His Skoda car was found parked near the canal, said police.
Impressed with Constable Sandeep’s bravery, the special commissioner praised him on twitter. “My HERO. Constable Sandeep jumped in freezing waters of canal and saved Vikas 28yrs from drowning in outer delhi yesterday night. (Sic),” tweeted Baniwal. The water was so cold that Constable Sandeep suffered cough and cold.
Coincidentally, another constable named Sandeep from east district police was rewarded with R50,000 by Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik for recovering stolen gold jewellery worth R40 lakh. “Recovery of stolen jewellery worth R40 Lakh by Ct. Sandeep of East District--an exemplary act of integrity & dutifulness. Rewarded R50 K. (Sic),” Patnaik tweeted.
Though the other constable Sandeep saved a man’s life that is certainly precious than a metal or gold he is yet to receive a similar reward or appreciation from the police chief.