Hyderabad: Enforcing the lockdown was a task for the police and challenge was that it completely new and never done before.
Otherwise accustomed to arranging bandobast for festivals, elections, curfews and protest rallies, the lockdown bandobast was altogether a new experience for the police. Here, they were to safeguard people from the risks of an unseen virus which was determined to go on a rampage.
And last March, as the lockdown was announced, the police force led by senior officials swung into action and checkposts were set up, mobile patrol parties were formed and barricades placed to restrict unnecessary movement on the road.
The foremost task for the higher-ups was to keep the force motivated and also safe. “To ensure they remain safe we provided safety gear including PPE kits, gloves, face mask, sanitisers and provided additional vehicles to prevent overcrowding. At few checkposts, air coolers and mosquito repellants were also provided,” recalls K Babu Rao, former DCP (Traffic) Hyderabad.
Another challenge for the police was to keep people confined to their houses. On instances, the police were at the receiving end following charges of excessive use of force. “It all depended on the person we were dealing. If we felt that any person was aimlessly moving for the sake of fun, we acted tough otherwise went beyond our duty to help them,” says Kotwal Ramesh, SHO (Hussainialam).
For days together and round-the-clock, police teams worked tirelessly while deployed at checkposts and patrolling residential clusters. The enforcement too was done with a humane approach since denizens had to be allowed to get essentials.
Mohammed Tajuddin Ahmed, who worked with the Rachakonda police, recalls that the ground force took the lead in spreading awareness about Covid-19 and explaining safety measures to be taken by the public.
Police Commissioners on lockdown
Hyderabad: Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said the lockdown was one of the biggest challenges for every officer in his or her career.
“When everything was shut down, our brave men and women were on the roads enforcing the lockdown. Around 14,000 personnel, right from home guards to higher officers, worked 24×7 and did an exemplary and courageous job. Police also distributed essential items to those in distress and humanitarian work was done by policemen and women in their own capacity as well,” he says.
Rachakonda: Rachakonda Commissioner of Police Mahesh Bhagwat says the biggest task for the police personnel was to stop people from venturing out of their homes while allowing unrestricted movement of vehicles carrying essential items.
“Teams were manning check-posts in shifts despite apprehensions of contracting the coronavirus. Again we had the task of sending migrant workers to their native places after identifying them and arranging transport. We reached out to people in distress and apart from distributing essential items, also arranged free transport to the sick and old persons,” he says.
Cyberabad: Cyberabad Commissioner of Police VC Sajjanar said the credit for success of the lockdown goes to the public, since without their cooperation, it could not have been enforced.
“Apart from the police who are always prepared for new challenges, good Samaritans came forward and helped guest workers with food and other essential commodities. On our call, several people came forward and donated plasma to Covid patients. It entirely was a new experience for the police force,” he says.
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