It’s been a year since coronavirus challenged health systems, life-routine in India. In order to make sure that people follow Covid protocols, police departments in every state played a crucial role in maintaining the lockdown. Though a year has passed but the pandemic hasn’t. As the nation is observing the first anniversary of lockdown owing to the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, here’s a look back at metropolitan policing and how Delhi Police met the Corona challenge and served people to win hearts.
A YEAR OF DIL KI POLICE
- The Lockdown brought a paradigm shift in police working and the policing also evolved as a human face of law enforcing mechanism under the leadership & vision of Commissioner of Police, Delhi, SN Shrivastava.
- Delhi Police took the challenge proactively and translated the pious saying of renowned saint Swami Vivekanand – ‘To serve humanity is service to God’, in action. After the promulgation of the nationwide lockdown beginning March 24, 2020, the Delhi Police was confronted with an unprecedented challenge of overcoming an adversary without any worthwhile knowledge of it. Police were among the first responders to the COVID-19 epidemic and are appropriately called the “Corona Warriors,” along with healthcare personnel, sanitation workers etc.
- So far, Delhi Police has lost 34 of its own who died while discharging their duties during the pandemic. The total infections in Delhi Police have touched a figure of 7733 with the recovery of 7688 personnel.
Enforcing lockdown in Delhi threw many challenges
- The Capital city has many activities which could not be abruptly halted. Delhi Police overcame adversities and successfully came up to the expectations. It was necessary to reach out to police personnel on the ground and explain to them how to deal with the new situation with a positive frame of mind. It was abundantly clear that enforcing a complete lockdown in Delhi would be successful only if it was implemented in a humane manner and the citizens were made partners to achieve the objective.
- The task of utmost importance for the entire police force was to ensure that there was no panic among the masses and that the residents could have a regular and unhindered supply of food, medicines and other essential amenities during the restrictions. Besides providing food for poor and underprivileged people, ensuring supply of essential commodities, emergency movement of people for medical purposes, addressing specific needs of senior citizens and taking care of stray animals were also some immediate concerns.
Creating a food provision network, community kitchens
- On March 27, 2020, the Police Headquarters took note of serious dimension of law & order implication from families without any earnings who were unable to feed themselves. All the 15 Districts started seriously engaging with all such entities for an organised food network so that sources of food supplies and places of consumption gets quickly synergized.
- The outpouring of emotions crystallized into community kitchens all over the city. The first such kitchen was established in PS Najafgarh, which kept on derving food to nearby colonies twice a day, throughout the lockdown period. A number of good Samaritans were identified, who pro-actively helped through community kitchens and distribution of food packets.
- Police Families Welfare Societies conducted food packet distribution programme along with sanitizers, soaps and masks for the most-needy urban poor. More than 1.2 Crore food packets were distributed, while the country stood still.
- A helpline during Movement Restrictions Movement outside of homes was permitted for procurement of essential services/ commodities only, or to a clinic/hospital for any medical emergency.
- Residents of Delhi stranded outside Delhi for any reason were allowed to enter Delhi on production of authorized identity or residential proof. Since residents could not come out of their houses to communicate their difficulties, Delhi Police was the first to start a Helpline on telephone number 011- 23469526 to resolve the grievances through direct intervention, as far as possible.
- The number was flashed on visual media and Delhi Police received calls from all across the country. Majority of the calls were related to shortage/requirement of food & medicines, difficulties in going to place of work in connection with essential services, how to return to homes outside Delhi etc.
- In the testing times, police personnel went far beyond their call of duty by providing relief measures to the hungry, shelter to the stranded and aid to the helpless. The PCR MPV vehicles doubled up as ambulances for ailing and serious patients, thousands of whom were safely transported to & from hospitals.
- 997 women in labour were transferred to hospitals by PCR vans for delivery. 9 babies were born in vans itself with help of our personnel.
Birth of “Dil Ki Police”
- It was a perfect time for every Delhi Policeman to realise the changing image of theirs in the eyes of people so that they make efforts to live up to those expectations. A campaign titled ‘Delhi Police – Dil Ki Police’ was born to signify the change in perception.
- In association with All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Plasma Donation Campaign was initiated on July 19 and police persons recovered from Covid-19 were encouraged & motivated to donate plasma for those who were seriously infected.
- Women personnel of police station Greater Kailash and Najafgarh stitched masks for police and public. Constable Dayaveer was posted in police station Ashok Vihar during the pandemic of Covid-19. While he was on night patrolling duty in the slum area of Wazirpur Industrial Area, he noticed a family panicking for emergency situation at their home as one lady was shouting due to labour pain and no help/vehicle was available despite calling to number of helplines.
- He immediately arranged a vehicle for that lady and rushed to Bara Hindu Rao Hospital, and admitted her. Later the matter was highlighted when family members named the child after the policeman as Dayaveer.
- With schools closed during lockdown, Head Constable Tara Chand and Constable Neelam of South District took daily classes for the children.
- A group of five women from Arunachal Pradesh residents who are stranded in Saket, Dehi. They were out of stock of rice, ration & essential commodities. SHO Saket provided them the essential food items. Some Instances of Beyond Duty Helps amid Pandemic.
Facilitation of Essential Movement
- The first shock waves were faced by those families who had few members stranded at different locations outside the city. This panic was evident in many calls. One such example was a call made by Lokesh from Old Rajender Nagar as his mother was stranded at Alwar, Rajasthan. It was through the intervention of the helpline that the local SHO got in touch with SDM in and got a pass prepared to enable him to travel to fetch her back home.
- Raju Singh from Mangol Puri lost his father and was in tears to make him travel to Bihar as no public transport was available. Rajeev from Nangloi lost his grandmother in Budaun, UP. Hari Om Sharma from Karawal Nagar wanted to attend the funeral of his mother in Rajasthan. Mahender Pratap needed e-pass to travel to Jalon near Jhansi to attend his grandmother’s funeral. Taufik from Okhla was desperate to travel to Bihar to attend his father’s funeral. A large number of such cases needed movement passes for emergency travel and were facilitated through both off line and online medium at the district police offices.
Arranging Medicines for Needy
- A person residing in Uttar Pradesh’s Bahraich district requested South Delhi Police to provide medicines for his grandfather who suffered from heart disease in Bahraich. The medicine was said to be available in the South Delhi area only. Additional DCP-I, South immediately procured the medicines and got it delivered to the person in Bahraich.
- On April 23, an MBBS Student from Uttarakhand Diksha Chandra Tweeted and tagged Delhi Police official account that her Maama, who was a neurological patient was stuck at Surya Kiran Appartment, IP Extension and urgently required medicine Rilutor 50mg. She had unsuccessfully tried a number of online delivery options. The said tweet was forwarded by DCP East District to SHO Madhu Vihar who tried all small and big pharmacies but the said medicine was not found. Finally, he contacted the manufacturer and succeeded in arranging the medicine and personally delivered it to the Senior Citizen. This effort of Delhi police appreciated and thanked by the lady through a video message.
Taking care of Senior Citizens
- In case of senior citizens, all their household engagements like plumbing jobs, motor/AC/invertors/fridge repairs were resolved by getting resources to their residences by the Beat Officers. A 70 years old lady had been suffering from kidney ailments and was stuck alone at her home. Due to the lockdown, no medical aid was available to her. Constable Kapil Kumar upon learning about her condition, immediately arranged a doctor at her house. His timely intervention saved her life.
- A 73-year-old woman who neither had food nor money to buy groceries called SHO Mehrauli to inform that her son could not send her money from London during the crisis. The beat staff immediately visited her with all essential items like flour, rice, sugar and oil etc.
- A distress call was received from an 81-year-old who was in need of his daily essential medicines. All his family members were out of India, SHO GK responded and provided the medicines to him.
Addressing Migrant Labourers’ issues during lockdown
- A large number of migrant labourers headed towards their native places. Mass movement of these labourers remained one of the biggest challenges. It was ensured that all the migrants trying to cross the borders were persuaded to stay at their places or shelters homes. Watch was also kept on anti-social elements who might try to misguide or provoke the migrant labourers.
- As they were already in distress, the staff was briefed to be extra polite with them. Delhi Police took these multiple measures to check movement of migrant labourers and ensure that lockdown is effectively implemented through continuous presence of police staff round the clock with permanent pickets and deploying its fleet of vehicles to maintain presence on the main roads and also in the interior areas.
- However, there was shortage of food, drinking water and clothes for these migrant labourers. Lack of space was also an issue and proper social distancing was not possible. In addition to this there was uncertainty about the migrant labourers staying at shelter homes.
- Senior officers visited migrant shelter homes regularly to reassure them that all their basic needs would be met. Moreover, supplies of food, water and other essential items were ensured with the help of civil administration, NGOs and civil society at their places of stay.
- Regular announcements were made to sensitize them so that they do not fall for any rumours and All the Police vehicles were given PA system to increase awareness about COVID and lockdown. When the lock down was gradually lifted proper arrangements were made for their return to native place.
Latest India News