Mumbai, Dec 26 A poignant video which went viralin the middle of the coronavirus pandemic summed up the yearfor the police force in Mumbai and Maharashtra.
It showed a child pleading with his policeman father,who is leaving house for duty, to stay at home because “thereis corona out there”.
As the police faced an unenviable task of keepingpeople off the streets during lockdown, the virus took a heavytoll on them – 312 police personneldied and around 28,500were infected across the state.
The Mumbai police also found themselves caught in thecrossfire in the political slugfest over actor Sushant SinghRajputs suicide.
“This year will be remembered for the sacrifices madeby police officials in the fight against COVID-19, whichclaimed 98 police officers and constables. Their sacrificewill never be forgotten,” Mumbai police commissioner Param BirSingh told PTI.
“Working relentlessly during the pandemic was ourbiggest task, but my force rose to the challenge,” Singh said.
Before the outbreak of the pandemic, huge protests inthe city against the Citizenship Amendment Act and NationalRegister of Citizens kept police busy.
Hundreds of students and others thronged the Gatewayof India on the night of January 6 after a brutal attack bygoons on students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
There were also echoes of Shaheen Bagh agitation inDelhi as Morland Road in Mumbai turned into the venue of aMumbai Bagh protest. It ended 56 days later with thecoronavirus outbreak.
An incident where 23-year-old poet Bappaditya Sarkarwas taken to a police station in Mumbai by an Uber driverafter overhearing his phone conversation about the anti-CAAprotest in the first week of February raised questions aboutthe polarised atmosphere and paranoia over the protests.
After the lockdown was imposed in March, lakhs ofmigrant workers from other parts of the country were strandedin Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra. The police wereinstrumental in providing them food and taking care of theirsafety.
The pandemic, which saw a drop in the crime rate, alsounleashed a flood of rumours on social media. MaharashtraCyber, the cyber crime wing of the police, cracked down onthese rumour-mongers.
Police in Palghar district came in for criticism whentwo Jain monks and their driver were lynched in April in thepresence of local police personnel on the suspicion of beingthieves and part of a gang of child-lifters.
The probe in the case was handed over to the CriminalInvestigation Department (CID) which has arrested 186 personsso far.
Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajputs death on June14 shocked the country and there were allegations that hewas a victim of nepotism and cliques within the film industry.
Bandra police recorded the statements of Rajputsgirlfriend and actor Rhea Chakrabortyand several members ofthe industry including a film critic.
In July, the actors father lodged a complaint inPatna against Chakraborty, accusing her of abetting thesuicide. In August, the Supreme Court upheld the Bihargovernments recommendation to transfer the FIR to the CBI.
The Enforcement Directorate started a separate probeinto Rajputs and Chakrabortys financial transactions. The EDstumbled upon mobile phone chats which suggested drug use.
The Narcotics Control Bureau began a probe andarrested Chakraborty and her brother along with a few othersfor allegedly supplying drugs to Rajput. Chakraborty and herbrother later got bail.
The NCB soon widened the scope of its probe to coverthe alleged rampant drug use in the film industry, andquestioned some prominent stars including Deepika Padukone,Shraddha Kapoor and Sara Ali Khan.
The Sushant Singh case got embroiled in politics, withthe BJP questioning the probe by Mumbai police and the ShivSena-led state government defending the police.
Justice for Sushant became an election slogan aheadof Assembly polls in Rajputs home state Bihar.
The medical board of the All India Institute ofMedical Sciences at Delhi concluded in October that Rajputdied by suicide and it was not a murder as many conspiracytheories claimed.
In October, Mumbai police claimed to have unearthed aTelevision Rating Points (TRP) rigging racket, allegedlyinvolving some TV channels. Police arrested 14 persons,including two senior officials of Republic TV, which allegedthat it was a witch hunt.
On November 4, Alibaug police arrested Republic TVEditor-in-Chief Arnab Goswamiand two others for allegedlyabetting the suicide of interior designer Anvay Naik whokilled himself over pending dues from the accuseds firms.
After spending eight days in jail Goswami was releasedwhen the Supreme Court granted him bail. He alleged his arrestwas vendetta as the Uddhav Thackeray-led governmentreopenedthe case closed last year for lack of evidence. PTI DC KRK VTVT VT
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)