Sunday, April 19, 2020

TOI Blog - Of National lockdown and Lathi-Charge

March 30, 2020, 11:27 AM IST  in The WriteClick | India | TOI
The association of the words ‘Lathi-charge and lockdown’; will be erected in our memories for quite a while now after witnessing what happened in the first week of #NationalLockdown to combat Covid-19. It would not be an overstatement to say that all states in the country have tough times in ensuring that people stay home. Police in most cities have to literally chase people from the streets to their homes. While people have different reactions towards the numerous video clips uploaded in social medias-of police resorting to lathi-charge to enforce the lockdown, a particular incident at Silchar, Assam, where a policeman was beaten to death not only enraged many but throws a serious issue to ponder with.
‘Why is it that we still need force to direct us to do something which is only for our own good?’ Is a question that merits the attention of every right-thinking individual. National Lockdown is our best bet to control the widespread of the highly contagious disease Covid19. When we have 1000 reported cases of the disease, the least that is expected from us is to oblige the advisories given by concerned authorities. Unthinkable it is when we not only flaunt the advisories but fight back.
The enforcement of lockdown has witnessed a chaotic situation where the police lathi-charged even people who venture out to buy essential items. The guidelines on Lockdown issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, which was circulated minutes after the announcement of 21 days lockdown has mentioned the exemption of essential service providers and one person per household to buy essential items. Now, there seems to be a miscommunication on the question as to the timing at which the permitted one-person-per-household individual could leave their home.
As the viral videos of the public being chased and beaten by law enforcement agencies keep appearing in Social Medias, some people could be forgiven for shifting their fear to the police from the virus. The police, on the other hand, have the enormous task of controlling people who flaunted lockdown norms as people thronged markets and shops without maintaining social distancing norms. The absence of managing it could defeat the whole purpose of the lockdown.
While the videos of police personnel, which have flooded the internet, resorting to lathi-charge to enforce the lockdown could make an interesting past-time indulgence for some, it is impossible to not notice the hardships encountered by both the police and the public. One simple way of resolving this is to have a time schedule during which the public could buy necessary items maintaining off-course the norms of social distancing and one individual per household. To avoid overcrowding and misuse of the scheduled timing, different timings could be arranged for different localities. The best would be to engage personnel of licensed suppliers to conduct home deliveries for essential items.
In as much as we feel the need to isolate and stay home, we cannot altogether ignore attending our biological needs. While endeavouring to meet our biological needs, we need to remember our responsibilities as law-abiding citizens of the country. As we enter into the second week of the 3-week lockdown, we hope to see more videos where public and police work together towards ensuring the smooth implementation of the lockdown by maintaining effective #SocialDistancing and #Isolation norms. We never know what awaits us in the next 14 days and who knows this could be a preparation for a longer lockdown. Let us hope that is not the case by doing our bit; to stay home without being lathi-charged.

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