With India entering a total lockdown since the midnight of March 24 to restrict the spread of coronavirus, Indians have been proactively following social distancing and self-isolation. And it seems Indian police officers are prepared to ensure that no one is seen outside the safety of their homes.
Starting from Sunday onwards when India observed a Janata Curfew by way of a trial lockdown, police forces across the country have been vigilant and out on the streets to keep others off. Despite potentially good intentions, however, several cops across the country have been criticized on social media for using excessive force and lathi-charge on citizens to enforce the lockdown.
One such incident happened on Wednesday when IPS Officer Pankaj Jain took to Twitter to share a video of police officers spraying their lathis or batons with disinfectant before stepping out for their rounds. Captioned "full tyari" (total preparedness), the video went viral on social media.
Yet another video posted by the senior police official depicting how Punjab Police was beating locals that were seen on the street was also deleted after it went viral. While many praised the police's preparedness, both videos were deleted following outrage against the cops' handling of lockdown violators across the country. Jain later posted photos of violators holding up placards and said that the lockdown was for the safety of citizens.
आशा करते है कि आप समाज के दुश्मन नहीं बनेंगे।
— Pankaj Nain IPS (@ipspankajnain) March 23, 2020
The posts have received much flak on social media.
Demo for those who didn’t understood pic.twitter.com/gwOEfqvbW2
— Maulvi Jesus (@go4akki) March 24, 2020
Hope citizen do not give this opportunity to police to use these.. Hope they stay home
— Tripti Singh (@triptidaudsar) March 24, 2020
Many complained about police brutality on Twitter as videos from several states went viral on Day 1 of lockdown.
— Utkarsh Chaudhary (@iam_utakarsh) March 25, 2020
THREAD: police brutality in India on #Day1ofLockdown
— Prabha پربھا (@deepsealioness) March 25, 2020
Reports of delivery persons and workers providing essential services have also reported coming under attack by police for doing their job. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor took to Twitter to condemn the attacks.
I appeal to @DelhiPolice & police everywhere to stop this violent harassment.https://t.co/Ab5cLyVMnk@ProfCong & I are getting reports from around the country of delivery persons, & people going out for essential supplies, being beaten w/lathis. Controls are OK; violence is NOT.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 26, 2020