They may have a heartless image but the suffering of others moves them too. Police in Uttar Pradesh's Hamirpur district have begun adopting abandoned elderly people they come across during their visits to villages and pay for their upkeep from their own salary.
"From our own salary, we take care of them... It's just a small initiative towards our social responsibility," Superintendent of Police Suryanath Singh told IANS.
The police officers take care of the everyday needs of those they adopt, including food, clothes and shelter. And all this, without any financial assistance from anyone.
"Believe me, a unique sense of satisfaction comes while helping others. You just have to provide a very small share of your salary to bring a smile on the faces of those who have been left alone by their sons or daughters," added Singh.
Singh adopted Kandhauli Prasad, a resident of Ahirwar village, around 20 days ago. He came across Prasad during an official inspection of the village and was moved by the elderly man's plight. The locals told him that Prasad's family had abandoned him because he was unable to contribute to the family's income.
Singh's act was appreciated by his colleagues and others in the police department and they decided to follow him. Now at least 16 police officers are taking care of around 20 elders, most of them weak and frail.
"I believe the adoption process will go a long way in changing the tough image of the cops. There's a common perception that police do not listen to the poor or downtrodden and work against them," Singh said.
Deputy Superintendent of Police PL Verma, who has adopted an elderly widow, said: "We believe that taking care of the needs of the poor and helpless elders will help the police empathise with their pain and agony, which in turn would soften their stand towards the poor."
Police officers who have taken up the noble cause say they will continue with the adoption process even if they are transferred to a new place.