Police brutality competes with coronavirus as cops lathi-charge civilians amid lockdown
Photo: ANI

India is a state of lockdown due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. People have been strongly encouraged to stay at home and all offices, stores and public spaces, save those providing essential services, have been closed. This lockdown, the Prime Minister had earlier announced, would be in place for three weeks, and was a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

And the police, it would appear, are rather determined to enforce the curfew. Visuals have emerged from several parts of the country, showing officials lathicharging civilians or even punishing them in various ways.

A photo taken by PTI for example showed three 'offenders' being made to hold their ears and do sit-ups as a police official brandishing a stick looks on.

Police punish offenders for flouting the lockdown guidelines, on the first day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, in the view of coronavirus pandemic, in Amritsar, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Police punish offenders for flouting the lockdown guidelines, on the first day of the 21-day nationwide lockdown, in the view of coronavirus pandemic, in Amritsar, Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
Photo: PTI

This is not an isolated incident.

On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the curfew went into effect, a man was allegedly beaten to death in West Bengal after he ventured out amid the curfew.

The police however deny the allegations, and stated that the man had passed away after suffering from a cardiac arrest.

Videos posted on social media from various parts of the country also lend credence to allegations of police brutality.

From making alleged daily wage labourers crawl on the streets to thrashing those they find unnecessarily out on the streets to even destroying essential products that have been put up for sale -- there are now videos of it all. And while we must mention that there is more than enough good being done by the police in this time of crisis, that does not negate the issue.

There were also videos of vendors -- even those providing essential services being heckled. And while a video shot from a distance does not quite capture whatever discussion may be accompanying the police actions, it is undeniable that they have been overturning food carts ad the like.

According to Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, who took to Twitter to post one of the videos, the cops in question have since been suspended.

Take a look:

The situation does not seem to be helped by the mindset of officials. Minister of State General VK Singh for example, took to Twitter on Thursday to humorously comment on the issue.

""It’s very wrong, I would request the police to wear gloves. You are putting your life in danger for some fools. Thank you," he wrote.

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