A prison guard found himself an internet celebrity in India (and perhaps elsewhere) after cell phone video of the officer dancing while on duty made the rounds of social media.
Authorities have now suspended the suddenly famous and funky corrections officer, however, after the footage of him dancing in uniform while his colleagues watched and cheered him on went viral.
The impromptu incident reportedly occurred in Chennai, India, inside Salem Central Prison.
Chennai is the capital city of Tamil Nadu state. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, Chennai is the largest industrial and commercial center in southern India, as well as a major cultural, economic, and educational center. It is the fourth largest city and metropolitan area in India. In a reference to past glory of Motown, Chennia is often referred to as the “Detroit of India” given the automobile industries located there.
“His bizarre dance moves of twisting and turning became an online sensation within hours and sparked an official inquiry into his antics,” the Daily Mail explained. The prison guard in question, identified as Shankaran, 58, “had been due to join the parade, as part of India’s Republic Day celebrations.”
A prison official confirmed to local news outlets that Shankaran, who apparently is a deputy jailer in the Attur sub-jail, was officially served with a notice of suspension, and an investigation into the incident has been launched. The suspension for whom the Indian Express described as the “salt-and-pepper haired, pot-bellied” officer took effect on February 9, prior to which he was transferred to another duty station.
“Unconfirmed reports say the dance took place in Chennai last month when the officer had come for Republic Day duty. AG Mourya, Inspector General of Prisons, Headquarters, said, ‘We can’t confirm where this happened. An inquiry is on,'” NDTV reported.
“The deputy jailer Shankaran was in Chennai to take part in Republic Day Parade broke into an impromptu dance to a rhythmic drum beat. He danced merrily while donning the uniform in front of other police personnel, few cheering while some captured the ‘happy dance’ on their mobile,” India.com noted.
The cavorting corrections officer allegedly may have more explaining to do. “Investigators are also examining claims that emerged following his brush with fame that he often forced inmates to cut his hair and give him massages,” the Mirror of London added.
In a wholly separate and unrelated choreography routine that was actually sanctioned by prison officials, inmates in a Philippines jail performed “Gangnam Style,” the K-Pop hit by rapper Psy that became an international YouTube several years ago.
Approximately 1,000 convicts at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, a maximum security facility, performed “Gangnam Style” as a group in the prison courtyard in October 2012 before about the same number of visitors and during a driving rainstorm. According to News.com.au, “this was the first public performance since February when authorities stopped the shows due to violence at the jail.”
The New York Times reported in 2008 that most of the prisoners in the facility are locked up for murder, rape, drug trafficking, and other serious offenses. They generally practice a “growing repertoire” of dance routines up to four hours a day under the direction of professional choreographers. Other prisons in the Philippines have apparently also implemented similar music- and dance-based inmate rehabilitation programs.
Do you think prison officials in India overreacted by suspending the dancing corrections officer?
[image via Shutterstock]