For one who is said to be the real life Salman 'Dabangg' Khan playing out the Bollywood star's tough cop character every day, IPS officer Shivdeep Wamanrao Lande too has a soft side to his personality.
Into his sixth month as the superintendent of police (SP) in Rohtas district of western Bihar, the Maharashtra-born 2006 batch Indian Police Service officer did all he could to save an abandoned newborn girl who was critically ill and appeared to have almost no chance of survival.
The barely breathing infant, wrapped in a shawl, was found by Bhairav Paswan next to the railway track near Gotpa village, two kilometres east of Rohtas district headquarters Sasaram. Forty five-year-old Paswan and his wife Kalawati are childless and wanted to adopt the baby. But fearing they were about to lose her to an adverse medical condition and not knowing where to go, Paswan called up Lande in sheer desperation.
Lande's response to the SOS from Paswan, who is a driver, was as electric as his numerous recent raids on illegal stone quarries that have devastated the Kaimur hills in this part of Bihar. Within minutes, he had Sasaram Mufassil police station SHO Vivek Kumar rushing to Paswan's home from where the sick infant was taken to the district hospital in a police vehicle.
Lande, too, reached the hospital with his doctor wife Gauri. The child was admitted in the special newborn care unit (SNCU) under the supervision of the Lande couple.
The SP then called the chairperson of the district child welfare committee (CWC) and completed all formalities required for the infant to undergo whatever emergency treatment she required. Beating overwhelming odds, she survived.
"I am a poor man with no resources. Had Lande sahib and madam not taken the matter into their own hands, there was no way the little girl could have lived. This is divine benevolence of which they were the medium," Paswan later told HT.
On Wednesday, the little girl was rushed in an ambulance to the CWC's dedicated intensive child care unit at Nalanda, about 200 km east of Sasaram, which offers the best medical facility for critically ill children in the area.
CWC sources said the girl would be put up for adoption after she recovers fully.
"Bhairav Paswan, who saved the girl's life and is childless, is the most deserving person to adopt her. I will try my best to see him get the child," Lande said.
This is not the first time Lande has emerged as a savior to an abandoned girl child.
In 2012 during his tenure as the SP of Araria in northeastern Bihar, Lande had saved a newborn girl who was left by her mother at the gate of his official residence in the early hours of a freezing winter night.
Lande heard her cries, picked her up and wrapped her in his arms to infuse warmth into her body. A few hours by the fire and her breathing came back to normal. She was later placed under the care of CWC chairperson Rita Ghosh.
Again, in January this year, as the Patna city SP, Lande came to the rescue of another newborn who had been abandoned by his father after a private hospital asked for Rs 2.5 lakh for a surgical procedure the child required.
Lande went to great lengths to locate the child's mother in Katihar district of eastern Bihar. It was then that it came to light that her husband had lied to her that the child had died and he had 'cremated' him in Patna. Lande not only restored the child to his distraught mother but also arranged for his operation. He lived.
"I have been blessed by Mahadev (Lord Shiva) to save girls. He has even given me and Gauri our first child, a girl we have named Aarha," said Lande, who had a fan following among girls in Patna.