Even as news of deaths, plunder and rioting is coming out of the national capital, tales of extraordinary heroism are emerging as well.
Two days ago, a video had gone viral, which showed a gun-toting miscreant bearing down upon a lone policeman in Delhi. As the crowd around him scattered, the policeman held his ground, until he was virtually face-to-face with the armed man. Even as the man pointed his gun at him at point-blank range, the cop, who was armed with just a lathi, didn’t flinch. In an effort to intimidate him, the armed man shot in his direction, but the bullet missed. Realizing he’d met his match, the armed man backed away.
— Saurabh Trivedi (@saurabh3vedi) February 24, 2020
The cop who stared death in the face and didn’t blink has now been revealed to be Head Constable of Delhi Police Deepak Dahiya. ““I was deployed at Maujpur Chowk,” he recounts. “Things suddenly took an extremely violent turn and people started pelting stones at each other. As I moved towards the scene of violence, I heard a gunshot. I saw a man wearing a red sweatshirt… he was wielding a pistol. I immediately jumped to the other carriageway to divert his attention,” he adds.
Dahiya says he deliberately put himself in harm’s way as the man approached. “He was charging ahead… I walked up to him to divert his attention. I could not have allowed anyone else to come in his way. My priority was to ensure that there was no casualty,” Dahiya said. He further added that it was his duty and he had to do it, “Kaam hain mera, karna hi hai…”
Dahiya is married, and his wife and two daughters back home in Sonepat in Haryana had no idea that incident had occurred until they saw his pictures all over the internet. “I did not tell them anything, but my photograph went viral on social media. My wife called me up all worried. I tried to dodge her questions, but even though my face wasn’t visible in the photographs, she recognised me from the blue stripes on the jacket… I kept quiet as I know that she has full confidence in me,” Dahiya said.
Meanwhile, the gun-wieding rioter was identified as Mohammad Shahrukh, a local resident. He was arrested, and as of Wednesday afternoon, remains the only person arrested for the Delhi violence. But thanks to Dahiya’s extraordinary courage, he couldn’t go any damage, apart from creating the spectacle that has become the defining image of the protests. But Dahiya brushes aside any talk of heroism. “Agar mere saamne koi mar jaata, toh bahut dukh hota hamesha… (had anyone died in front of me, it would have hurt me forever),” he says.