Policeman’s salute meets with backlash

A police officer in the district landed himself in the soup by saluting the youngsters who had earned plaudits for their exemplary rescue work soon after an Air India Express flight crashed at Karipur on Friday night.

Nizar A., senior civil police officer at Control Room here, gave a formal police salute to “the good Samaritans of Kondotty” when they went into quarantine at a centre near Kondotty on Sunday.

The social media celebrated Mr. Nizar’s salute, describing it as a genuine acknowledgement of the youngsters’ selflessness. But the salute did not go well with the Police Department as it was a breach of protocol.

District Police Chief U. Abdul Kareem has ordered an inquiry into the incident. The inquiry report is awaited in a day or two.

“He (Mr. Nizar) did it on his own. He was not entrusted to do such a thing. Neither were we aware of his action. It was out of place,” Mr. Kareem said. “He may have done it with good intentions. But it is a serious breach of service norms. Let the report come,” he said.

Among the people in quarantine who got the salute was a man without a face mask. This has irked the senior police officers further. “He has doubled his fault by saluting an unmasked man. Actually he should have asked him to wear a mask or taken action against him,” said a senior police officer.

However, the saluting police officer from Aripra near Perinthalmanna has found many supporters on social media. Many posted on Facebook and Instagram praising the salute.

Even District Collector K. Gopalakrishnan has unofficially asked the police to condone the salute. “We saw what those men did at Karipur soon after the tragedy. And the police officer’s salute must be in that spirit. It can be condoned,” said Mr. Gopalakrishnan.

Mr. Nizar has built a positive and populist image among the people of Malappuram. According to his colleagues, he transgressed the official norms by saluting the civilians “out of excitement.”

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