Coronavirus lockdown | U.P. police warning against helping migrants sparks row

Was meant to prevent violation of lockdown, say district police

Updated - May 15, 2020 09:35 pm IST

Published - May 15, 2020 06:36 pm IST - Lucknow

Bhagwan Sharma

Bhagwan Sharma

Police in Bulandhshar triggered a row after a notice issued by a police officer threatened legal action against those offering food and water to migrant workers walking back to home.

After drawing flak on social media for the notice, which was widely circulated, the district police on Friday said that while the notice was authentic, it was not a general notification but issued specifically to Bhagwan Sharma alias Guddu Pandit. The former Samajwadi Party MLA had repeatedly violated lockdown norms, said Bulandhshar police.

In the “notice” issued on May 11, the officer in-charge of the Bulandhshar City Circle outpost warns of legal action under the Epidemic Diseases Act if water and food is provided to migrants walking on the road. No specific person is mentioned in the notice.

The notice also accuses unnamed persons of stopping the migrants outside their home and inviting them in with the “ lalach ” (lure) of food and water. “This violates the COVID-19 norms,” said the notice.

Also read: Back home in U.P., job offer worries migrant workers

SSP Bulandshahr Santosh Kumar Singh later clarified that the notice was issued to Mr. Sharma for repeatedly “violating lockdown and disturbing social distancing”.

The notice was taken out of context, he said.

Mr. Singh said the notice was issued to the former legislator because he was gathering people at his house with the lure of food and water.

“The notice was being circulated without the name of the person in order to tarnish the image of the district police,” he said.

The district police have always welcomed efforts of social workers towards providing relief to people and offered them support, he added.

Also read | With no work or food, workers brave the long march home from Uttar Pradesh

The district police Twitter handle justified the notice to Mr. Sharma as legal and proper, and said four cases had been lodged against him in one month for violating lockdown.

However, slightly contradicting the SSP, the district police said action was taken against the officer in-charge because he did not mention the name of the person on the notice, “due to which certain people misused it on social media”. The officer has since been sent to the police lines.

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