Indian Police Punish Lockdown Offenders with Violence
As India began its three-week lockdown on Wednesday, dramatic photos and videos started to surface showcasing police across India using extreme force against violators of the country's coronavirus lockdown.
Similar was the case in Guwahati and other parts of the state.
In the footages circulating on various social media platforms, the liberal baton-wielding cops wearing surgical masks can be seen beating those breaking the rules.
From using bamboo sticks to beat the offenders to punishing them into doing sit-ups or rolling on the floor, police can be seen taking extreme steps to enforce the lockdown.
One such footage is from TRP Road (galla patty) in Fancy Bazaar area of Guwahati. In the short video, police can be seen forcing violators of the lockdown to roll on the road instead of walking. This particular video has been widely circulated by individuals living in the area as well as by various media houses.
In many cases, the innocent and ignorant citizens have been targeted by the police. Footages also surfaced where human dignity was snatched without reason. If media reports are to be believed, in some cases, the police have gone to the extent of beating essential service providers despite showing ID cards to enforce lockdown.
In West Bengal’s Howrah district, a man died on Wednesday after he was allegedly beaten up by the police for violating lockdown guidelines. His wife alleged that her husband had gone out to buy milk and was among the crowd that the police baton-charged. He was taken to a local hospital where doctors pronounced his death.
However, the Howrah City Police deputy commissioner refuted allegations that the victim died of injuries caused by the lathicharge.
From the footages being shared on news and social media platforms, it seems that the police in India have failed to explain the lockdown and its importance to the public, assuming that all members of the public know about the lockdown just hours after it has been announced.
Such has been the policing scenario of the country after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a 21-day-long nationwide confinement to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
While some people have condemned the acts of the police, others have also praised them for taking strict action against offenders and doing their duty in times of crisis.
“Assam police are beating people without asking properly, even those going for essentials. This is lockdown not curfew. If this continues Assam police will lose all public support, because every family shall go out in 21 days and they'll get beaten up,” said a citizen of the state.
In the same vein, a resident of Guwahati said, “The police should be less cruel to public. No humanity is being shown here. The old, the daily wager rickshaw person is being harassed.”
On the other hand, praising the police for its actions, Tushar Roy said, “I thank our Assam police for giving all their efforts to save people from the effect of corona virus. They are our real heroes, patrolling all over the state. Salute to the police and to the CRPF jawans.”
However, speaking to G Plus, commissioner of police Munna Prasad Gupta denied the allegations of Guwahati police beating people even though there was documentation of the incidents.
“Guwahati city police has been urging citizens to abide by the rules of lockdown. We are not beating them up. The videos circulating online may be fake,” he said.
The commissioner of police further informed G Plus that as of March 25 midnight, a total of six arrests have been made in three different cases in Guwahati for defying lockdown orders.
It needs to be mentioned that within these strange brutalities surfaced certain footages of the same police force showing kindness to a section of poor people. In the footages, police can be seen providing the poor with basic amenities such as water and food.
Police to Act Tough on Those Spreading Rumours, Fake News: DGP
Assam director general of police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta on Wednesday, March 25 warned people against spreading rumours and misinformation during the ongoing lockdown due to coronavirus.
“This is not an ordinary time, the police is trying it's best to ensure lockdown,” mentioned the DGP.
He added that the Disaster Management Act has applied and if anyone disobeys, they can be put in jail for a year, which will be a non-bailable offence.
“People spreading rumours and misinformation will also be punished. They will be booked under IT Act as well as the Disaster Management Act,” said Mahanta.
The DGP also stated that various citizens have been lying to the police and roaming around even during lockdown.
“I went to field to take stock of the situation and found people in drunk state creating ruckus in spite of lockdown orders. I urge such people to act responsibly because if the police finds out that you’re lying about your whereabouts, you will be charged as per law,” he announced.
The punishment for first time offenders is Rs 1000 or jail term of 6 months or both and that for second time offenders is jail term of 2 years, non-bailable.