Cops struggle to cope with CAA protest stress

Cops struggle to cope with CAA protest stress

On Sunday, over 600 policemen and women participated in an hour-long drum jam at Orion Mall in Yeshwantpur.

The daily protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the city may be largely peaceful, but it is taking a hidden toll on the police staff, senior officers said.

Long hours on watch coupled with angry protesters lambasting police for violence against dissenters in other parts of the country, plus rising temperatures have been fraying the tempers of police, and in some cases, flattening their resolve. 

The situation was borne home when a constable on duty at Town Hall where CAA rallies are held every day, collapsed due to dehydration. “The constable was rushed to a hospital and has since made a complete recovery,” a senior police officer said.

The incident, however, shows the difficulties faced by staff, police said. “We are making the best of the situation. Fortunately, there have been no untoward incidents in the city and this has managed to keep a stressful situation on an even keel,” clarified Deputy Commissioner of Police for central zone, Chetan Singh Rathore.

Rathore, however, conceded that the daily protests have stretched the police thin. “These protests are, in many cases, preventing police from carrying out their regular duties. Sometimes, police can only attend to criminal complaints early in the mornings or in the evenings,” he said.

Many police personnel explained how they have had to maintain stringent on-duty times, sometimes starting at 6 am and ending late into the night. The worst affected is the S J Park Police Station which has to mount all-day standing patrols at Town Hall, with its full complement of staff. 

“Some of the other stations have the ability to maintain shifts, but S J Park Police Station, which is bearing the brunt of rally monitoring, does not have this option,” Rathore clarified.

Police have taken steps to ensure that on-duty staff are able to take short breaks and are hydrated regularly. Police have also erected a large tent for shelter in the concrete driveway of Town Hall which is devoid of trees. 

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