‘Lockdown hearts’ open up to police

Overwhelming response to Kerala Police’s social media initiative

“Feeling lonely in the lockdown? We are with you 24/7... together we can share our thoughts, ideas, emotions, expressions, suggestions....”

No sooner had the Kerala Police put up such a flyer in their official Facebook page on Wednesday morning than their official FB messenger was literally flooded with messages.

“We posted the flyer around 9 a.m. and since then messages are just pouring in at the rate of hundreds in a single minute. So much so that all three of us on shift at the police social media cell could hardly cope with and respond to all the messages. We may have to think of putting up more systems if the flow of messages continue at this pace,” said P.S. Santhosh, a civil police officer manning the police social media cell.

The torrential flow of messages have prompted the three staff off the duty to support their colleagues from their homes.

Messages dripping with all kinds of emotions ranging from the anxious and humorous to outright funny are pouring in thick and fast.

“People are even sharing contact numbers of their family members who are itching to go out asking us to ‘threat’ them so that they stay put inside the home. We have made a few such ‘threatening’ calls as well. Another person was so bored sitting idle at home that he wanted to step out for a beer and we told him that it wasn’t such a bright idea,” said Mr. Santhosh.

A man who was frustrated on not being able to go to the library was so elated when the police shared with him an online link of 50-odd books. Some wanted to know whether they will get beaten up while there were others who wanted the police to suggest them good movies and even use their influence to make local cable network providers to telecast good films to amuse people forced indoors.

“We are also getting many messages from anxious Malayalis stranded in places like Bengaluru and Mumbai while a few expatriate Malayalis wanted us to check the wellbeing of their family. In some cases, we have even contacted the local police stations to make those checks. Panic-stricken people with symptoms similar to COVID-19 want to know whether they were infected and we shared with them a document detailing about the symptoms of the epidemic,” said Mr. Santhosh.

The official FB page of the Kerala Police is one of the most popular of law enforcement agencies anywhere in the world and boasts more than 40 lakh followers.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 2:26:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/lockdown-hearts-open-up-to-police/article31166659.ece

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