A Punjab policeman's TikTok video has helped reunite a hearing and speech-impaired man with his family in Telangana after two years.
In a bid to encourage people to help the less fortunate, Punjab police constable Ajaib Singh had shared the video of his interaction with R Venkateshwarlu on the video streaming platform in March. A friend noticed the video and informed Venkateshwarlu's family, who then contacted the Punjab police.
In 2018, Venkateshwarlu had ended up in the city of Ludhiana, which is hundreds of kilometres away from his native state of Telangana. While he had boarded a truck to go to another village for work, he fell asleep.
"My father fell asleep and the truck driver didn't know he was there. Several kilometres later, the driver realised my father was in the truck and so he dropped him off on the middle of the road and left him there," his son, R Peddiraju, told the BBC.
He then asked another truck driver for a lift, which, however, took him to Ludhiana. Since then, he had been living on food donations from locals. His family had tried to find him with the help of the Telangana police but in vain. It was only after the Punjab cop's video went viral that the man could finally reunite.
In the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, Singh had been going around Ludhiana to donate food and essential items to migrant workers and the poor. It was during one such initiative that the cop met Venkateshwarlu under a flyover in Ludhiana.
In the video Singh shared on TikTok, he can be seen offering food to Venkateshwarlu. The man can be seen indicating that he could not speak or hear while signing his thanks to the policeman. The video soon went viral and has received 12.4 million views and more than 1.8 million likes.
The video was also seen by Peddiraju's friend, who alerted him. After obtaining a special permit to travel amid the nationwide lockdown, Peddiraju reached Ludhiana to get his father. The two returned to their village on Tuesday.