COVID-19: Cops on strict vigil to ensure total lockdown

Bengaluru: Police on strict vigil to ensure total coronavirus lockdown

A traffic policeman canes a motorcyclist at T Dasarahalli on Tuesday. (R) This is how a cop caught hold of a man who stepped out on Mysuru Road. DH PhotoS/ B H Shivakumar AND ANUP RAGH T

The city police force which is used to fighting criminals are now at the forefront of the battle against the novel coronavirus. 

Raising their lathis, they chase after people wandering aimlessly in the hope of keeping the deadly virus at bay. 

Both the traffic and law and order police are monitoring the streets to ensure no one steps out unnecessarily and slap cases on those defying home quarantine.

They have also closed major tolls including those in Nelamangala and Dodabalapur to ensure residents do not leave the city. All shops, restaurants and commercial establishments have been closed, except for pharmacists, grocers and vegetable/fruit vendors who are allowed to do business to ensure availability of essential
commodities.

A large number of vehicles crowded the Nelamangala tollbooth hoping to get out of the city, but police have blocked their exit as those leaving the city could possibly spread the virus in villages.

Motorists tried persuading deputy commissioner of police (North) N Shashi Kumar, explaining their move and urging him to open up the tollbooth, but police remained resolute about keeping it shut.

“We’re letting shops selling essential things like milk, vegetables, fruits and grocery only for a few hours in the morning and ask them to shut after 10 am. People keep coming out if these shops are open. Only medical stores are allowed to remain open,” said a senior police official.
Police closed down shops at 11 am in Vidyapeeta circle, Swetha Circle, Katriguppe, Jayanagar, JP Nagar, Uttarahalli, Basavangudi and Vijayanagar.

Cops, including those from the law and order section, are constantly patrolling the streets and asking people to maintain social distancing while coming out to buy vegetables and other essentials.

A senior official said the police are acting strongly against those roaming around on the oral orders of the home minister and their top brass. “The police commissioner has also issued prohibitory orders. We don’t want anyone coming out of their houses. If they do, we raise our lathis and chase them until they get back home,” he said.

Kumar, a vegetable vendor, said police asked him to close down the shop at 10 am. “I had to keep the shop open for some more time as some stock was left. Police almost snatched my weighing machine and so I had no choice but to close down,” he said.

Mutton shop owner Nagaraj had been receiving calls from his regular customers. “Police have asked me not to open the shop until further orders. People are prepared to pay Rs 200 to Rs 300 per kilo of mutton,” he said. 

Grocer Madhu said he has not been getting stocks as lorries are stopped at the city outskirts.

“I’ve been selling what’s left and will close down once I run out,” he said.
In many places, police were seen chasing after those roaming around unnecessarily. Cigarette shops, tea stalls and juice centres that usually to roaring business are shut.

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