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Assam cops attacked for enforcing COVID-19 lockdown

Mass violation of social distancing norms across Assam made the authorities shut all markets after an initial relaxation.  

The police in Assam are finding themselves at the other end of the stick after allegedly using them to enforce the COVID-19 lockdown. On Saturday morning, a group of traders and customers attacked a police team in western Assam’s Bongaigaon district when they tried to close the shops at Bodi Bazaar. Two constables — one attacked with sticks and the other hit by a brick — were admitted at a local hospital.

A similar incident happened at the Phalimari Bazaar in the adjoining Dhubri district on Friday. Some 300 people who had gathered there in violation of the guidelines pelted stones at a police team that tried to make them go home.

“Our men fired a few rounds in the air to disperse the violent crowd,” Bongaigaon’s SP Singha Ram Mili said.

The police in the two districts registered FIRs against more than a dozen people involved in the assault cases.

The State government had on Friday relaxed the lockdown to enable people to procure essentials items, vegetables, fish and meat. But mass violation of social distancing norms across Assam made the authorities shut all markets almost immediately till further orders.

“We cannot back off from implementing the lockdown we have been tasked with. We will have to take action according to the law if people resort to violence,” said G.P. Singh, Addl. DGP (Law and Order) who toured the two markets on Saturday.

Officials in Arunachal Pradesh have accused the Assam police personnel of taking bribes from truckers transporting essential commodities to the frontier State.

In a letter to the Deputy Commissioner of Assam’s Lakhimpur district on Friday, an Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Arunachal Pradesh’s Papum district named two constables for holding up the trucks until the drivers allegedly bribed them.

“...They are restraining the essential commodities meant for people and not allowing them to enter Arunachal... and demanding bribe for letting them go...” said Likha Tejji, the ADC of Kimin in Papum Pare district, seeking the Assam government’s intervention and stringent punishment to the erring policemen.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 4:21:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/assam-cops-attacked-for-enforcing-covid-19-lockdown/article31193004.ece

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