Kerala

State police tighten clampdown

CM exempts more categories from curfew

The State police on Thursday attempted to limit vehicular and pedestrian movement by placing barricades at junctions and main thoroughfares.

They intensified checks and turned back hundreds of people who they reckoned had no reason to be out of their homes. They booked 2,094 persons for violating lockdown regulations imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 epidemic.

Surprised by the relatively large turnout in public places across Kerala, District Police Chiefs and City Police Commissioners enforced the lockdown in person. Most were on the road with their officers, stopping people, verifying their identity and asking them to explain their reason for travel.

Health workers, LPG delivery persons, owners of essential businesses and their staff, fish vendors, and those transporting milk and perishable goods were caught in the clampdown. The police action also led to arguments and few bordered on brawls.

Exemptions

The stepped-up enforcement drew a measure of criticism from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan later in the day. The incidents also prompted him to exempt bakers, vendors of perishable goods, and those who step out of their homes to procure essential supplies and medicines from local shops. Mr. Vijayan cautioned the public against unnecessary travel.

He called scores of individual traders on the telephone. A grain merchant said he told Mr. Vijayan that he could not supply to retailers because his staff lacked police permits to report for work. Another trader said he had alerted the CM about disruption in inter-state supply lines. Mr Vijayan also publicly warned traders against hoarding and blackmarket sale.

Meanwhile, the Excise Department seized 11 litres of bootleg liquor from a blackmarket seller at Amaravila near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Officials said the suspect had sourced the alcohol from Tamil Nadu to make a quick profit during the lockdown. They have stepped up enforcement against illicit spirit and drugs.

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 2:16:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/state-police-tighten-clampdown/article31176804.ece

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