Lockdown: Caning by police raises people’s hackles

Police stopping vehicles at M.G. Road in Bengaluru as the lockdown began on Monday.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Police across the State on Monday began enforcing a strict lockdown, often resorting to caning motorists and people on the streets. Such instances were reported from across the State.

In many instances, the policemen allegedly caned everyone in sight indiscriminately, even those out on medical emergencies and other permitted activities, raising hackles. At least three complaints — by two lawyers and Congress leader Ramesh Babu — were filed against the Karnataka Police with the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) in this regard on Monday.

R.K. Dutta, KSHRC member, said the commission was looking into the complaints and collecting details and evidence of specific instances. The police have expressed concern over videos on social media of police personnel caning people in other places being passed off as instances from the State.

However, several persons recounted their ordeal at the hands of the police on Monday. Irshad Alam was on his way from a hospital in the city to arrange for Remdesivir for his relative when the police allegedly caned him and seized his bike. “They did not listen to me at all. They released the bike two hours later when I got a call that my brother-in-law died in the hospital. But I couldn’t ride my bike due to the beatings,” he said.

People misusing the window for essential services and medical emergencies were to blame for police action, said a senior official. “We observed traffic jams during the window for essentials during the last two weeks and everyone claimed they were out for essential services, misusing the window. So enforcement was strict from Monday,” explained a senior officer.

Praveen Sood, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, said while the police have been instructed to act with restraint, people must also cooperate.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant tweeted: “Contrary to the videos doing rounds on Social Media, Bengaluru City Police has been strictly advised to only take action strictly as per law, in case anybody violates lock-down guidelines. They have been advised not to use any kind of force in this regard”.

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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 4:23:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/caning-by-police-to-implement-lockdown-raises-hackles/article34529331.ece

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