Patna: Bihar Police, in the name of enforcing a total lockdown amid fears around the coronavirus, has allegedly been misbehaving, humiliating, roughing up and even beating up people. State police in Patna on Friday abused and beat up a sanitation worker, the second such incident over the last three days.
A sanitation worker from Patna Nagar Nigam was abused and beaten when he was on his way to work in the posh Pataliputra locality. “When I was stopped by them, I told the policemen that I was on my way to work. They said I was lying and refused to let me go. My objections led to a heated exchange of words which infuriated them to the degree that they beat me up using their hands and a bamboo stick,” he said.
According to the worker, he has informed top police officials about the incident.
In a similar case, Ajit Kumar, a sanitation worker of Patna Nagar Nigam was badly thrashed by police on Tuesday near Gaurichak police station. Ajit, who has sustained injuries to his head, was on his way to work when the police stopped him. After he insisted, he was beaten up as well.
Ajit lodged a complaint with the Additional Director General of Police, Jitendar Kumar, who took cognisance of the incident and assured action against the policemen if they were found guilty.
There are reports of several such incidents of the police roughing up and beating people to enforce lockdowns.
A youth by the name of Solden Khan, and two of his friends, were beaten by police in Haspura in Aurangabad on Wednesday, for violating the lockdown. Khan had gone out to purchase medicines and essential items. “I was beaten without committing a crime. I informed the police that we had come to purchase medicines but they humiliated and beat us,” he said.
That is not all. Three policemen were arrested in Patna and sent to jail on Thursday after they allegedly shot at and injured a truck driver, when he refused to pay a bribe of Rs 5000 for his potato-laden truck to pass through during lockdown, two days ago.
According to senior police officer Sanjay Singh, IG, Central Range, Patna, three police constables were arrested after an FIR was lodged against them for attempt to murder and extortion.
Sonu Sao, a resident of Patlapur village of Patna reportedly sustained a bullet injury on his thigh and was taken to a hospital by local people, who caught the constables and informed senior police officers. This incident has come as a big embarrassment for the police trying to enforce a lockdown.
Till date, Bihar has reported 9 confirmed cases of coronavirus including one death. Dr. Pradeep Das, the Director of Patna-based Rajendra Memorial Research Institute (RMRI), where COVID-19 tests are being done in Bihar, confirmed the same.
Meanwhile, the police claimed that those deployed in the field are struggling to enforce lockdown in Bihar as people from both urban and rural areas crowd outside and continue to visit markets and shops. Police say that people are seen chatting in groups on streets and ignoring warnings of action for violation of social distancing.
After permission to use force came in from top-most authorities, the police has arrested over 90 people for violation of social distancing, lodged 225 FIRs and seized 3615 vehicles in the last three days (from March 24).Police have also collected fines of Rs 70 lakh from violators of the lockdown as per the rules.
A police officer of ADG rank said that the police has been trying its best to convince people to remain indoors and not come out of their homes and roam on streets or roads unnecessarily, so that the administration can enforce a lockdown for social distancing.
He said that on Thursday alone, the police lodged 71 FIRs, arrested 37 people and seized 1488 vehicles. “Police will continue to take action against those found violating lockdown,” he said.
Amit Kumar, ADG police, law and order, told NewsClick that the police has repeatedly been appealing and requesting people to cooperate by not coming out of their homes. “We have urged people to come out only in the case of an emergecny,” he said.
He said police headquarters has instructed police officials in all districts to act against violators. Police officials admitted that they have been forced to punish people who came out for non-essential work by ordering them to repeat sit-ups and squats.