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Delhi riots: Policeman braves mob to save lives

  • Published at 11:19 pm February 28th, 2020
Delhi Riot
Neeraj Jadaun Collected

Riots broke out in Delhi on Sunday, killing at least 42 people and injuring hundreds

An Indian policeman has been hailed as a hero for braving unruly mobs and saving families during the sectarian violence in Delhi.

Riots broke out in Delhi on Sunday, killing at least 42 people and injuring hundreds.

A police superintendent of the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh Neeraj Jadaun, told BBC that he was patrolling a border checkpoint on February 25 when he heard sounds of gunfire coming from Karawal Nagar in Delhi – about 200m away from him.

He saw a mob of 40-50 people setting vehicles ablaze when one of them jumped into a house with a petrol bomb. At that point, Jadaun decided to break with traditional police protocol and made a split-second decision to cross the state border into Delhi.

In India, police officers need explicit permission to cross state borders.

"I chose to cross. I was willing to go alone despite being aware of the danger and the fact that it was beyond my jurisdiction. Those were the most terrifying 15 seconds of my life. Thankfully, the team followed me, and my seniors also supported me when I informed them later," he told BBC.

"It was dangerous as we were outnumbered and the rioters were armed. We first tried to negotiate with them and when that failed, we told them that police would open fire. They retreated but seconds later, they threw stones at us and we also heard gunshots," he added.

However, Jadaun and his team held their positions and kept pushing back until the rioters finally left.

He is uncomfortable about being hailed as a hero. "I am not a hero. I have taken oath to protect any Indian in danger. I was just doing my duty because I wasn't willing to let people die under my watch. We were in a position to intervene and we did that," Jadaun told BBC.