Viral images of a 5-month pregnant woman standing in the heat with a lathi in hand, telling motorcyclists to stay home amid the second wave of coronavirus has gathered appreciation from all quarters. The lady in question is the DSP of Dantewada Shilpa Sahu. Leader of the special anti naxal force the ‘Danteshwari Fighters’, Sahu took a break from anti-naxal operations after she conceived but is out to fight as a corona warrior now. “I have been taking rounds ever since lockdown was imposed in Dantewada this week. It is only in the initial days that you need to go out and check if people are stepping out…that too at a particular time of the day….when you explain once or twice people also realise and enforcement happens,” Sahu told News18.
So what is more challenging? Fighting the war against Naxals or the virus? Sahu chuckles, “Both have it’s own challenges. Main to department mein hun per bachcha to department mein nahi hai (laughs) ..usko dhyan mein rakhte hue mask waigarah lagakar hum door se samjhate hain logon ko (I am in the department but the child is not in the workforce. Keeping it in mind, I wear mask and take other precautions and instruct people from afar). That is why I keep a lathi also…to use it to keep people at a distance,” she answers.
Married to a cop as well, Sahu in fact chose Dantewada as her posting to be with her husband who is a SDOP in the neighbouring Kirandul. Her superiors are all praises for her and even Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has taken note of her zeal towards her duty.
Shilpa’s photos went viral after it was shared by Addl Transport commissioner Dipanshu Kabra shared them on his Twitter account and users started commenting on them.
“DSP Shilpa is a brave police officer and she has been discharging her duties following corona appropriate behavior herself like mask, social distancing and hand washing,” SP Dantewada Dr Abhishek Pallav told News18.
He added that all pregnant police personnel have been counselled about the added health hazards.
An engineer from Durg, Shilpa Sahu is the eldest of four sisters and has set an example for her peers but says that her family worries about her safety specially since unlike her colleagues she can’t be vaccinated. “I usually don’t tell them about my day-to-day routine because they will worry. I thought they will scold or dissuade me from going to work, but their reaction was measured. They said if you do such good work obviously your unborn child also gets a lot of blessings but just remember to take care of yourself,” Sahu said.
While there have been some questions about officers like Sahu taking ‘unnecessary risk,” Sahu says she understands the risks, but signs off by saying, “Corona to ghar per bhi rishtedaron se ho sakta hai, office mein file sign karte waqt bhi ho sakta hai. (I can get infected from folks at home, or while signing papers in office). I take utmost precautions to safeguard myself and my child.”