If Coronavirus has the name ‘Novel’ prefixed to it, the police of this country have novelty ingrained in them – for such are the tactics they adopt to ‘treat’ lockdown violators. The barbarian traits and utter insensitivity were on show as the police rounded up people, beat them with long sticks, bullied them, and chased them back home, not once dithering from the spirit of true ‘khaki’ monstrosity.
It seems, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of a 21-day complete lockdown on Tuesday (March 24), is being taken very seriously by them as cops across the country seemed to be acting ‘spiritedly’ to drive home the fact that staying indoors is essential after the COVID-19 outbreak in the country claimed nine lives and infected more than 500 people.
As people continued to defy lockdown, some for legitimate reasons, policemen branded them COVIDIOTS (a term coined for those flouting restrictions), made them squat on the road, do sit-ups, and forced them to pose with pamphlets admitting their ‘fault.’ And, falling prey to the ‘creative’ tricks of the cops were doctors, mediapersons, the elderly, and even children.
“Think before you step out during lockdown in #AndhraPradesh. Vijayawada police are finding new ways to restrict traffic. The Chief Minister @ysjagan has allowed only one per family to purchase essentials, gathering more than 5 is strictly prohibited. #AndhraFightsCorona,” wrote a user on microblogging site Twitter.
The tweet had a 14 second-long video of the Andhra Pradesh police making defaulters do sit-ups with crossed hands.
Think before you step out the during lockdown in #AndhraPradesh. Vijayawada police are finding new ways to restrict traffic. The Chief Minister @ysjagan has allowed only one per family to purchase essentials, gathering more than 5 is strictly prohibited. #AndhraFightsCorona pic.twitter.com/Jv79t0f2Fl
— NewsMeter (@NewsMeter_In) March 24, 2020
A similar awareness tactic was used by the Maharastra police, which in a video posted on social media, is seen making at least nine people do sit-ups near a traffic signal, evoking both laughter and appreciation for the officials.
— ANI (@ANI) March 24, 2020
Police in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand took their creative flair a notch higher to ensure that the public curfew is followed.
“UP Police punished unnecessary people wandering around in order to make public curfew successful and maintain #Social_Distancing #Covid19India,” posted a Twitter user.
The accompanying video shows the police resorting to the age old murga (chicken stance) punishment to teach the defaulters a lesson. Murga punishment is a stress position used as a corporal punishment where sit-ups are done holding the ears through the legs.
A sight from Kanpur. @KanpurPolice punishing people if they are seen outside on the streets. Asking them to become a “Murga” & stand in a line.@dgpup @Uppolice @TOIKanpur is this necessary & going to help?? And who are these men, taking pics & watching the show? #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/SimmxnnH9C
— Dr. Shruti Kapoor (@kapoors_s) March 24, 2020
While defaulters in Punjab were asked to either crawl on all fours, or lie down flat on the road, those in Uttarakhand were made to pose with pamphlets that said, “I’m enemy of society; I won’t stay home.”
Haryana police at its best. 😂😂
It reads " I'm enemy of the society. I wont stay at home (amid curfew). "#JanataCurfew#COVID19outbreak #IndiaFightsCorona #CoronaWarriors #5Baje5Minute #ChinaLiedAndPeopleDied pic.twitter.com/tmobKI3K8X
— lemmeRoar 🦄🦄 (@Peace___nopeace) March 22, 2020
“#PunjabLockDown #PunjabPolice Nagin dance bhi karva do Bhai inse (Punjab Police, please make them do snake dance too)… why can’t people get in their brains that it is very serious matter… Please stay at home (police makes people crawl from one place to another) #StayAtHomeSaveLives #StayHomeStaySafe #COVID2019,” one Twitter user posted along with pictures of people being punished in Punjab.
#PunjabLockDown #PunjabPolice Nagin dance bhi karva do Bhai inse… why can't people getting in there brains at it is very serious matter… Please stay at home…#StayAtHomeSaveLives #StayHomeStaySafe #COVID2019 pic.twitter.com/Bz9aZJ8S4L
— ॐ Änkur। अंकुर 🇮🇳 (@ankur3308) March 24, 2020
Niti Aayog chief Amitabh Kant also took to Twitter to praise the Delhi police for its ways of encouraging social distancing.
Sharing a video of a few police personnel driving people out of a public park peacefully while telling them the importance of staying indoors, he wrote, “Delhi Police at its best! As Gr8 Ambassadors of #SocialDistancing ! #StaySafeStayHome”
However, such actions did not draw praises from all corners for the police force. Netizens took to social media to highlight several cases where people who were out for essential activities were harassed by the security personnel.
In places like Guntur, Telangana, Sikar (Rajasthan), police were seen beating up those flouting the rules with lathis.
“A cab driver was basically thrashed by police near Guntur bus stand. (you need to educate people and this kind of atrocity will create dissatisfaction and anger among people where you desperately need social cooperation) #AndhraPradesh #APLockDown #fightagainstcorona,” a user posted with an accompanying video.
Thread – A can driver was basically trashed by police near Guntur bus stand. (you need to educate people and this kind of atrocity will create dissatisfaction and anger among people where you desperately need social cooperation) #AndhraPradesh #APLockDown #fightagainstcorona pic.twitter.com/A7QbcXyslz
— Aashish (@Ashi_IndiaToday) March 24, 2020
“This is really appalling! Doctors returning home from the hospital in Telangana are being stopped and harassed by police for breaking curfew. This is even after they have showed the police their ID cards,” another user posted with a video showing an altercation between the police and a group of individuals.
This is really appalling! Doctors returning home from the hospital in Telangana are being stopped and harassed by police for breaking curfew. This is even after they have showed the police their ID cards @thenewsminute @dhanyarajendran @NitinBGoode pic.twitter.com/72k7h8mDZK
— Nimi (@nimeshika_j) March 24, 2020
(With inputs from agencies)