Bengaluru

Police use lathis to disperse crowds at markets

Claim many grocery shops had set up eateries to make a quick buck, which attracted customers

The police on Tuesday cracked the whip on citizens who had ignored the government order on the lockdown. However, in several cases, people who had stepped out of their homes to pick up essential items and groceries were also pulled up.

As people gathered at K.R. Market, the police resorted to caning to disperse the crowd. This happened at several places across the city, even outside grocery stores.

“Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao had exempted essential services, like grocery shops and vegetable markets, from the lockdown. However, people were using this as an excuse to gather outside markets and shops, which defeated the very purpose of lockdown. Hence, we resorted to caning,” said a police officer.

Many grocery shops had allegedly set up eateries to make a quick buck and were forced to shut down. “Many people who are part of essential services are found misusing the exemption and moving around freely,” said another police officer, defending the decision to cane people.

Over 15,000 policemen along with 50 battalions of reserve police force have been deployed for patrolling duty, and to guard the entry and exit point of the city.

“The guidelines for the lockdown are clear. If people are performing essential duties as per the order, then they need travel with proper ID proof with a company vehicle and logo along with the ID card,” said Mr. Rao.

In their diligence to enforce the lockdown, the police stopped a vehicle that MLC C.M. Lingappa was travelling in on Mysuru Road. According to sources, the officers on duty asked him for identification. When Mr. Lingappa reportedly informed them that he was heading for the legislature session, the police asked him, “Which council?”

In the afternoon, police personnel carrying food packets in vehicles for their colleagues on duty were seen feeding homeless people on pavements. “This is part of the job to ensure that everyone is safe and sound,” a police officer said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:43:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/police-use-lathis-to-disperse-crowds-at-markets/article31155589.ece

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