Kerala

Police crack down on inessential travel

A child who reached at a COVID testing centre at Kottamaidan in Palakkad on Sunday along with her parents falls asleep on a scooter while awaiting her turn for the RTPCR test.   | Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah

The State police actively dissuaded inessential travel on the second day of the COVID-19 lockdown on Sunday.

Officers flagged down vehicles and challenged passengers to state their reason for travel. The clampdown will continue till May 16. The police allowed people with appointments at hospitals and COVID-19 vaccination centres.

Citizens travelling to attend weddings and funerals of close kin were also permitted. The police fined and turned back persons they deemed had ventured out for frivolous reasons. Many bridled at such restrictions, resulting in heated arguments.

The police had prepared a template for enforcing the lockdown. Officers followed the format. They had also devised a Standard Operating Procedure to effect arrests and searches and questioned suspects during the pandemic.

The government has opened exclusive dormitories to quarantine COVID-19 positive officers. It had vaccinated the entire force and deployed over 25,000 officers for lockdown duty. The police would operate in shifts. Members of the neighbourhood watch and civil defence aided the force.

Officers also joined elected local body office-bearers and health workers to check on COVID-19 patients, patrol markets and ensure hotels and shops selling essentials followed the pandemic protocol.

An official said an estimated 90,000 people had applied online for travel passes. Most requested permission for inter-district travel. Some wanted to return to their workplace in cities after the weekend. In contrast, others cited weddings and house warming as reasons for the trip.

He said the law enforcement granted passes only to a fraction of the applicants. They allowed domestic workers and manual labourers to pass unchallenged. Officers set up checkpoints at inter-district borders.

The police checked the number of persons at marriages held in auditoriums, hotels and homes. They required hosts to note down the particulars of attendees, including their address and mobile phone number.

With Karnataka and Tamil Nadu heading to a lockdown, the State police held border enforcement meetings with their counterparts in the neighbouring States. They agreed to hasten the movement of freight, ambulances and vehicles carrying patients.

The police insisted that travellers entering Kerala via road furnish a COVID-19 negative certificate. Forest, Excise and police stepped up border patrolling and inspections for movement of contraband, chiefly alcohol and marijuana.


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 9:53:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/police-crack-down-on-inessential-travel/article34520698.ece

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