When Kerala police officer Merin Joseph posted a picture with popular southern actor Nivin Pauly on Facebook on Sunday, little did she realize that the photo was going to be viral. Although the officer received a lot of admiration for the picture in terms of likes, what followed afterwards were media allegations of a breach of protocol.
In the post along with the picture, Joseph had written, “With Nivin Pauly…The current sensation in Kerala”. Both the officer and actor were guests at an event in an Ernakulam college.
Media reports criticized the officer for having herself clicked with an actor while in uniform.
After several days of criticism, Joseph hit back with another post on Facebook on Thursday, “Why didn’t I react so far to the so-called controversy caused over my photo with Mr. Nivin Pauly at the MLA function in Ernakulam to felicitate students? Because I don’t react to non-issues. And for those who still need clarification, I am pointing out that the pic was taken by MLA Hibi Eden after securing his consent and that too, during a lighter moment of laughter over a shared joke. I don’t know why some dubious, unheard-of news channel, which doesn’t have the slightest idea of journalistic ethics, is trying to define protocols for officers. For the information of anybody who cares about this cheap sensationalizing, I state that I was a guest at the function, had no “official duties”, and it was only in the long gap that occurred while the organizers got the stage ready for prize distribution that all this happened. I had already finished reading out the oath (which was the only task entrusted to me). When such a gap is there, the Home Minister has already left the venue and the other guests on the stage have moved aside, what am I as a guest with no other duties supposed to do? Jump off the stage? Stand in attention saluting the audience?? Or go sit in an available chair in the corner of the stage and keep myself occupied? For those who think that I was neglecting some important duty or doing something unbecoming, I merely ask which law states that one can’t upload a photo when idly passing time?? I didn’t disrupt the arrangements or cause any inconvenience except perhaps catch the attention of some reporter who didn’t have any worthwhile work. The media channels which pander to such cheapness and voyeurism, have my pity. I pray such desperate means don’t become the only means for them to earn their livelihood.”
However, this is not the first time Joseph has been in the midst of controversy. Ever since she joined the Kerala cadre as a trainee officer, social media has been abuzz with discussions on her looks.
Joseph is apparently fed up with all the attention over the photo with the actor and said, “non-issues are being sensationalized.” Joseph also later clarified that the picture was taken by Congress lawmaker Hibi Eden with the actor’s consent.