Posted on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border during Thursday’s hartal, SI Iyer's exemplary courage ensured that no public bus that passed that way was damaged. #DutyFirst
Public transport buses across India often face the wrath of an angry mob. Almost every riot or violent demonstration results in a video or photograph of a burnt down state-owned bus.
For many public service officials, this is an inevitability. However, there was one police officer from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, who didn’t receive the memo.
With the Sabarimala Temple entry issue causing widespread public disturbance in Kerala, buses coming into the state from neighbouring Tamil Nadu were at risk of getting destroyed or suffering heavy damage from stone pelting.
Fortunately, Kaliyikkavila Sub-Inspector Mohana Iyer was present at the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border on Thursday evening. He saved many buses of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation from stone pelting by standing firm against the demonstrators, saying “dare to touch the buses if you can face the consequences.”
His firmness at that critical juncture took the demonstrators by surprise and unable to match the courage of this officer, they let the buses pass through without any damage. This video has gone viral on social media.
For SI Iyer’s efforts, the KSRTC presented him a citation, besides a Rs 1000 cash prize award in recognition of the performance of his duty. “Nobody will break the law if the police act firmly. I had only a small team of police personnel at Kaliyikkavila, one of the busiest spots on the National Highway when the tension broke out. Even a small disruption at Kaliyikkavila would lead to a major traffic jam, which prompted me to face the hartal supporters head on,” SI Iyer told Manorama.
In fact, the KSRTC staged a procession earlier this week with buses damaged by stone pelting taken onto the roads. In the procession, which was held in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, 23 such buses were paraded with the aim of requesting the general public not to damage public property and destroy transport.
According to the KSRTC officials, the two-day-long protest against the entry of two women into the Sabarimala Temple resulted in extensive damages for over 100 buses.
Watch the video below:
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)