In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has witnessed a nationwide lockdown which is now seemingly relaxing in certain areas. In order to felicitate the lockdown, the frontline warriors have been a dedicated workforce to battle the pandemic.
The Logical Indian reached out to Ashok Kumar, Director General, Uttarakhand Law And Order to talk about Uttarakhand's management of the lockdown.
The country has now stepped into the third phase of the lockdown after it was extended by two weeks starting 4th May. Meanwhile, Uttarakhand has only one district in the red zone and majority falls in the orange and green zones.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, the DG said,"We've been handling the situation very well, and as of now the only major challenge has been the Tablighi Jamaat members. Majority of the positive Corona cases have been reported from the Jamaat members, they were timely identified and acted upon. The bigger challenge right now that we are seeing is that nearly 1.5 lakh of the state's population is standard across the country, and their return is bound to increase the risk of spreading the infection."
With the lockdown norms relaxing, there is a very high possibility of the process of containment of the virus becoming harder, he said.
The DG also expressed his concern on the possibility of being faced with a sudden surge of people wanting to get out of their houses, especially after having stayed in for a period of 40 days. He said that the achievement of 40 days could very well be nullified in two days.
He urged the public to be patient, for it's a long battle that we are fighting.
A video had emerged on social media, where in Nainital after the second lockdown, the liquor stores had opened and there was a surge of people standing in the hail storm to buy liquor while still maintaining social distance.
"Even though people are following the norms here, I tell them that lockdown is not a permanent solution, this is the time that we are buying to train ourselves to deal with the situation, and to equip ourselves. Masking, sanitizing, and do gaj ki doori (social distancing) are extremely important," the DG explained.
The Uttarakhand administration has designated honorary SPOs and deployed them for community work, like delivering ration monitoring public's adherence to the norms. People from communities within the hotspot areas are appointed as SPOs to spread awareness of the situation. These SPOs are people with the public who voluntarily choose to come forward and help.
As of May 6th, 13,289 cases of lockdown violations had been reported in Uttarakhand. The violation rate has slightly gone up a notch after the lockdown restrictions were relaxed.
The author of Human In Khaki, DGP Ashok Kumar also explained Uttarakhand's management of violators, and their approach of dealing with people's tendency of questioning the law and breaking free from restrictions.
"Humanity is our first job, the orders were that lockdown has to be strictly implemented but not at the cost of losing empathy. We have to get people to follow the rules while being considerate and respectful towards people's states. Their freedom is being limited, so we have to execute the orders with humility and tactfulness. We have to be vigilant where it requires, strict with the violations, but we also have to be sentient towards the public and be at their service to help them," he expressed.
The pandemic ensued a significant improvement in public's trust quotient. According to the latest results of IANS-CVoters, 70% of Indians expressed a 'lot of trust' in the police, while in 2018, the figure was only 29.9%.
The DGP remarks that this has been the highest figure of all times.
The Uttarakhand police have been on toes to help people with their needs. There have been 2-3 cases when the delivery of pregnant women happened in the police vehicle.
Uttarakhand being a hilly region, faces difficulty in providing ration. The police have many a times trekked with ration bags on their shoulders to be delivered to the people. Officials have been doing 12 hour shifts and still helping the locals after that.
"Perhaps Corona has helped bring out the human within the khaki," the Director General of Uttarakhand told The Logical Indian.