NEW DELHI: ”I was only doing my duty” said Gagandeep Singh who has just emerged as a hero on the social media for saving a Muslim man from what could have been a possible lynching by a bunch of right wing goons. A video of the incident in Uttarakhand has gone viral within minutes on the social media.

Speaking to The Citizen in what are his first comments since, the police officer, Gagandeep Singh, who is sub-inspector, Ramnagar, said that he was on duty and heard a ruckus near the well known Ramnagar temple, that is near a river, and close to the Jim Corbett national park. He said he rushed there hearing the “shor sharaba” and recounting the full incident said:

“There is the Girija temple which is around 4 or 5 kms away from the city.There is a riverside along the temple, where generally couples like spending their time. I was on duty at that time. The local people out there caught hold of these couple and got to know that they were a Hindu -Muslim couple. After that I arrived at the spot and was taking him away from the particular site. The other police constables were present and having a meeting with the temple authorities. Suddenly near the temple gate, a lot of crowd gathered.”

“My main aim was to save the boy from being lynched by the crowd. I have received a lot of positive messages on social media and from the police department. However I have also received several hate messages.”

The video shows Singh with his arm around the man, trying to tell the mob to refrain from attack. At one point he hugs him using his body to shield him from the attack as the mob tries to hit the youth, and actually hits the cop. The mob starts shouting slogans against the police with Singh seen leading the Muslim youth away. Significantly despite the alerts he seems to be the only policeman on the spot surrounded by the hostile crowd, with the others talking to the temple authorities.

It is clear that mob is ‘rabid’ as a social media post describes it, with the one cop showing exemplary courage in rescuing the youth from what could have been death given the history of recent attacks and lynchings of Muslims across BJP ruled states.

Former Chairman Press Council Markandey Katju in a tweet summed up the larger social media applause for the police officer with, “it was heartening to see on Youtube the videos for a brave young Sikh police officer, Gagandeep Singh saving the life of a Muslim youth who may have been lynched by a frenzied Hindutva mob had it not been for the courageous intervention of Gangandeep.”