How social media destroyed a ‘drunk’ Delhi cop’s reputation

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 21, 2016 20:52 IST
P KSalim, a head constable from Delhi, became a shining example of how a cop should not be. (YouTube)

Remember the video of a ‘drunk’ policeman on the Delhi Metro that went viral last year? It turns out he was not drunk, but suffered a stroke.

In August last year, a 36-second amateur video clip uploaded on Facebook showed a dishevelled head constable from Delhi, P K Salim, trying to find his way around the coach in what seemed to be a ‘drunken’ stupor.

A day after the video went viral garnering nearly two lakh hits, Delhi Police suspended him from duty. In another incident of social media playing the judge and the jury, this happened despite Salim asserting during the inquiry that he was not drunk.

BS Bassi, Delhi’s top cop at the time, issued a strict warning to his men after the incident, saying it was unacceptable for any of them to be found drunk in uniform even during off duty hours.

Soon, Salim became a shining example of how a cop should not be.

All that is history.

A recent report by the Daily Mail, quoting a medical report, revealed that Salim was not drunk, but suffering from partial paralysis.

The report added that the policeman suffered a blackout when he was on the Metro and that was why he fell down when it came to a sudden halt.

In November last year --- long before this report --- Delhi Police withdrew the suspension and reinstated Salim. But media apathy to this update continued to project him as drunk at the time of the incident.

“When the video went viral and Salim was suspended, it made front page news. When he was taken back, not a single newspaper or TV channel carried it. In the eyes of the general public, the petitioner was drunk in the metro and he is still under suspension,” Salim’s lawyer, Wills Mathews, told Daily Mail.

Salim has now approached the Supreme Court asking for compensation for his defamation in social media which has “irreparably maligned his image in the eyes of the public”.

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