As Chennai tackles waterlogging due to heavy rain over the past few days, a woman police inspector has set an example by leading rescue work from the front.
A video of Rajeswari, a police inspector with Chennai's TP Chatram Police Station, carrying an unconscious man on her shoulders and then ensuring his quick evacuation tells the story of duty, empathy and of a city coming together.
The video, tweeted by news agency ANI, begins with Ms Rajeswari overseeing rescue work hands-on in the waterlogged Kilpauk cemetery. As rescue crew cut branches of a tree felled by strong winds, Ms Rajeswari, trousers rolled up, is seen pulling at the branches to get them out of the way.
#WATCH | Chennai, Tamil Nadu: TP Chatram Police Station's Inspector Rajeshwari carries an unconscious man, on her shoulders, to an autorickshaw in a bid to rush him to a nearby hospital.— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2021
Chennai is facing waterlogging due to incessant rainfall here.
(Video Source: Police staff) pic.twitter.com/zrMInTqH9f
The video then shows an unconscious man by the roadside.
Police had received information that a body had been spotted under a fallen tree in the cemetery. But after the tree was moved, Rajeswari noticed that the man, later identified as Udaya Kumar, was breathing.
With the rescue workers' help, the woman police inspector carried the man on her shoulders and started looking for a vehicle to take him to safety. The video, which has gone viral, shows her shouting instructions to her juniors to find a sheet to cover the unconscious man and rush him to hospital. She's heard shouting erumai -- meaning 'buffalo' in Tamil -- to one of her men, asking him to move fast.
An auto is spotted and Ms Rajeswari carries the man to the three-wheeler, constantly giving instructions to the rescue workers accompanying her. She puts the unconscious man on the rear seat of the three-wheeler and tells the driver that he must ensure that the man lives. As the vehicle drives away, the policewoman turns back to her job of clearing the area in the rough weather.
Asked how she managed to just lift the man and carry him on her shoulders, Ms Rajeswari told NDTV, "I am 53 but am into athletics and when it comes to saving a life, there is no thinking twice, I just jump in!"
Those who have known Rajeswari in the past say she is a brave and proactive police officer known to handle sensitive cases of gender violence and for cracking down on the drug mafia with equal commitment and courage.
Heavy rain hammered several Tamil Nadu districts last night and this morning, particularly the northern districts. At least 14 people have died in rain-related incidents, a senior official told ANI this morning.
More rainfall has been forecast for Chennai and seven Tamil Nadu districts, and Puducherry. Alerts are in place for Tiruvallur, Ranipet, Vellore, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai, Kallakurichi, and Salem, as well as Chennai.
An officer of the National Disaster Response Force said they have deployed 11 teams in Tamil Nadu and two in Puducherry, and five more are on standby.