Lucknow: The COVID-19 pandemic in Uttar Pradesh has taken a toll on the state’s police department, too, with as many as 162 police personnel losing the fight against the virus so far. Personnel of the Uttar Pradesh Police Department have been fighting the COVID battle from the frontline — working in harsh conditions 24x7 without any respite and were infected while on duty from the first wave of pandemic till now.
According to the UP Police Department, 20,000 police personnel have contracted the virus since the outbreak. Of them, 19,770 recovered and 162 succumbed to the disease. These include officers of the rank of Constable to Station House Officer (SHO); Inspector, Circle Officer (CO), Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) and DG-rank officers.
According to this list, the highest number of fatalities of police personnel, that is 24, were reported from the Meerut zone, while 22 cops have died in Varanasi, 16 in Bareilly, 11 under Lucknow police commissionerate, 9 in Lucknow zone, 15 in adjacent Kanpur zone, 12 in Gorakhpur, Agra zone recorded 11 deaths, 6 in Prayagraj, 7 cops of Gautam Budh Nagar police station, 3 of Government Railway Police (GRP), 11 of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC), 2 of Anti-Corruption Organisation (ACO), 2 of Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID), 1 in Security Branch, 2 policemen of DG office have died.
"As per data collected, 76 policemen have died from COVID-19 in the year 2020, while 78 policemen have lost their lives since January 1 this year till now," additional director general (ADG) Prashant Kumar said, adding that compensation to the deceaseds’ family members will be given soon as they are directed by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
NewsClick spoke to a police officer to get a first-hand account of the situation. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he said that 2021 has been tougher on cops who are out on the streets enforcing the coronavirus curfew, as compared to 2019.
"The movement of people has been steady in Uttar Pradesh despite the strict lockdown amid increasing coronavirus cases and deaths. Cops are on the street to check and verify the reason for a person moving out and keep an eye on those violating the COVID guidelines,” said officer, adding that because of this, police come in contact with a large number of people, increasing the risk of getting infected.
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Recently, a major controversy erupted in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Uttar Pradesh after and CM Adityanath faced a backlash after Rashtriya Shaikshik Mahasangh (RSM) – a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh -affiliated union of teachers -- claimed that 1,600 government employees had allegedly died due to COVID-19 following their deputation to panchayat poll duty in Uttar Pradesh.