A simple image of kindness, captured in a photo and shared online, has gone viral across the Internet and is spreading awareness of homelessness in India.
B Gopal was making his rounds as a traffic cop over the weekend in the town of Kukatpally in Hyderabad, India, when he spotted a homeless woman sitting next to the road, seemingly in need of help, according to the Times of India.
Gopal offered her some food, but she was too weak to feed herself. Rather than leave the food by her side and walk away, the officer knelt down and began to feed her himself.
That scene was then captured by a bystander and shared on social media by Harsha Bhargavi, chief public relations officer of the local police force, the Times of India reports.
This gesture of Kukatpally traffic PS Home Guard B.Gopal (1275) towards a homeless woman by feeding her at JNTU shakes the heart @cpcybd@cyberabadpolice@TelanganaDGP@TelanganaCMOpic.twitter.com/tL7VO7Vt5J— Harsha Bhargavi (@pandiribhargavi) April 1, 2018
People are applauding Gopal and calling for others to follow his lead.
Thank you! That is a real role model. https://t.co/G1lNsSv41q— Pavan Sannuti (@Pavan81) April 2, 2018
👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 Salute!— Milestone (@rafeeq66) April 1, 2018
Salute to this traffic police officers! We need more people like you! 👍👌 https://t.co/cOZQGDzF2t— Mohammed Azher Mehdi (@AJAzhermehdi) April 1, 2018
This is called change, not only friendly police , also called social responsibility 🙏🙏— Satya (@SatyaRajulapudi) April 1, 2018
But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Gopal was able to coordinate with local officials to get the woman transferred to a home, according to Times of India. Further details of the arrangement have not been reported.
The story is likely resonating throughout India because of the enduring problem of homelessness in the country.
There were 1.77 million homeless people as of 2011, and many homes house multiple generations of families, leading to sometimes cramped conditions.
Further, 58% of the total population is living on less than $3.10 per day, according to the World Bank.
Hunger is also a chronic issue throughout the country. Around 14.5% of the population is undernourished and 38.4% of children are stunted due to a lack of nutrition, the World Bank notes.
A police officer feeding a homeless woman and helping her find shelter is a moving scene, but to make sure incidents like this become less common, greater investments have to be made in alleviating poverty, building affordable housing, and making nutritious food more accessible.
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