UP cop smashed old man's typewriter: Meet the Hero behind the viral picture

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A photograph is worth thousand words. There are photographs in the world history that made the world weep, the ones which carry deep sentiments.

There are some which are really disturbing like the photograph of a vulture waiting for the girl to die and to eat her. That picture by South African photojournalist, Kevin Carter has haunted the world for years.

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Recently, a photograph of 65-year-old typist Kishan Kumar being tormented by a police officer in Uttar Pradesh has gone viral over the social media. [Social Media Protest: Old innocent typist tortured, typewriter smashed; UP cop suspended]

The image portrayed the plight of a typist whose only source of income, an old typewriter, was smashed by a Sub-Inspector Pradeep Kumar.

Once the photograph went viral, it didn't take much time for the authorities to act on the issue.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav asked senior officers to suspend the police officer and a new type writer was gifted to Kishan.

The photograph invited a sea of controversy in the social media, where people protested and reacted over the adamant and arrogant attitude of the police officer towards the common man. Some said that the man behind the camera has done true journalism in all its spirit.

Now, meet the man behind those viral pictures -- Ashutosh Tripathi, a photo journalist with Dainik Bhaskar.

ashuthosh tripathi

In an exclusive interview with OneIndia, Ashutosh spoke about the photograph and the incident that made him a hero on social media.

The photograph created a huge impact over the social media. Did you ever think that the picture will go viral?

To be frank, I never thought that the picture will go viral on social media. Before I used to upload pictures on Facebook. But the kind of response I got for this particular photo is really surprising.

I submitted the photograph to my editor. As a journalist I can't bring the emotional element to a story. So I decided to post it on Facebook.

typist

A story on the incident was published in Dainik Bhaskar at 6 pm. By 8 pm CM Akhilesh Yadav acted on the issue, the sub-inspector was suspended and by around 10 pm DM and DSP visited Kishan Kumar and presented him a new type writer.

I was felicitated the very next day. I never imagined such things. The photo had a number of shares within minutes and was shared by celebrities like Vijay Mallya, Parineeti Chopra and many others. I was happy and proud at the same time.

What exactly happened on the eventful day?

It was a normal day in my life. I stopped near the GPO (general post office) for breakfast at an eatery.

I saw the police inspector riding his motorbike on the bicycle track. I thought I will click a picture of that, as it is a violation of traffic rules.

pavement

Then the inspector kicked the milk container of a tea vendor sitting on the pavement. The inspector asked everyone on the pavement to vacate the spot.

Then I saw Kishan Kumar, he was very old and couldn't move briskly because of that.

Suddenly the inspector kicked the typewriter. Despite Kishan's attempt to dissuade the cop from breaking the typewriter, his only source of income was smashed. The cop also abused the old-man.

How did the cop react when he saw you clicking his pictures?

He saw me clicking the pictures. Then he told me to click his pictures along with his nameplate, so that the world will come to know that he has done this.

There was arrogance in his words. Later I came to know that the inspector got that job after his father's death.

police

Kishan will be of his dad's age, however, that did not stop him to abuse the old man.

As a human being, I was hurt. I went and spoke to Kishan who told me that the type writer was the only way of income for him.

He bought that two years back and it was like his son to him. I asked him whether the typewriter can be repaired. He said no, with a teary eyes.

How did the authorities react to the incident?
I received good response from the authorities. Most of them appreciated me. I did not go through any kind of pressure.

I did not receive any threats as well.

What's your thought on Social media protest and journalism?

Social media is the best platform to mark your protest. Earlier people had limited platform to share any information. But with the advent of social media, sharing any information has become easy.

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In my opinion, this is the best way, because no one is harmed in any ways. People can express their opinions without any fear.

Being a journalist, I learn and explore new things everyday.

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