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Haphazard Lockdown has invited snags, pitfalls; Ease it

The Lockdown of present complexion, and ambience will have grave economical, social and psychological effect on fellow Indians

Tuesday May 5, 2020 1:05 PM, Uzair A. J. Naje

India Lockdown Stories

It was 8:00 pm on 24th March 2020. The fellow countrymen with remotes in their hands were sitting in front of their TV sets. It had put denizens in remembrance of November 8, 2016 probably worse therefrom. The Prime Minister of India have announced nationwide 21 days lockdown beginning from 25th March 2020 midnight and ending on 14th April 2020 midnight, declaring it to be more austere than of earlier Janata Curfew in view of present crisis amid COVID-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding the Janata Curfew was intended to be self imposed one but not lawfully enforced curfew.

India reported its first COVID +ve patient on 30th January 2020. But the indolent government ignored the overwhelming caveats for a quick aggressive decision. Indian National Congress’ former president Rahul Gandhi intimated earlier to the government for the upcoming health crisis. But our Prime Minister might have been busy in welcoming USA president Donald Trump.

Graphics have seen more hikes in Delhi and Mumbai and initially Chief Minister of Maharashtra gradually and steadily imposed statewide lockdown. The state of Maharashtra enforced Sec. 144 Crpc earlier in MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan religion) region and then extended it to the whole state, later the state have enforced statewide curfew under Epidemic Disease Act 1897 & Sec. 144 Crpc till 30th March 2020.

Subsequently, the Prime Minister addressed the nation on 24th March 2020 at 8:00 PM and declared a nationwide lockdown and curfew, more aggressive than earlier Janata Curfew. It was unfortunate that his oratory had created much panic. There was nothing in his address with regards to trade of essential commodities and relaxations to buy thereof.

His aggressive gestures asking citizens “kuch bhi hojaye bahar nahi nikalna hai” created extreme panic in residents and resulted in more chaos with heavy buying rushes in the markets across the nation. The markets were like of Eid shopping markets as like it was a Chaand Raat.

Later the unplanned lockdown got a nod for another lockdown 2.O and extended upto May 03rd 2020 and now the Lockdown 3.O extended upto 17th May 2020 with the kind of de jure relaxations but de facto it is constant.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had declared for a Janata Curfew on 22nd March 2020 and it was intended to be a self imposed curfew but not a lawfully enforced one. No state had enforced any Curfew u/s 144 Crpc nor directed to the Police Departments to use any kind of force, despite thereof various places across the nation were reported with incidents of inhumane police brutality on the residents stepped out to buy kind of essential commodities. Later it becomes a harsh fashion of Police personnel across the country to use brutal force on individuals stepping out for bread and butter.

India becomes a second country after Africa in the matter of infringement of Human and Constitutional Rights. Police personnel are not privileged creatures and the law is equal for all. Police has a right to use minimal force after prior warning only in terms to disperse an unlawful assembly but to beat an individual barbarously is highly reprehensible & unacceptable, FIRs must get registered against the accused Cops.

Meanwhile, Home Minister of Maharashtra in an interview to a Marathi news channel asked policemen unabashedly and unapologetically to polish lathis with oil and use it on individuals stepping out. It has resulted in human rights crisis hence must be condemned unequivocally.

Nevertheless, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackrey is doing well despite being of first time in governance. However, he initially asked DGP Maharashtra for a soft approach with citizens but later ignored the overwhelming grievances with respect to police atrocities.

Reportedly, a youth in West Bengal have been beaten to death by policeman as he was stepped out to buy milk for his baby child. Similarly a senior citizens and an ambulance driver near Pune, Maharashtra have been beaten to death by police personnel.

India Lockdown

More cases of grave injuries and deaths due to brutal force by policemen unabashedly not only in Mumbai and suburbs but also across the nation have been reported during the month long lockdown whilst the administration, bureaucracy and politicians remained silent on this human and constitutional rights crises. Right to Life and personal liberty can’t be suspended even during emergency.

Unfortunately, the unplanned lockdown got extended till May 03rd 2020 and now till May 17th 2020 with de jure relaxations but de facto with the same restrictions. Famish of stomach made thousands of labourer, daily wager and poorer for exodus to their native places. The union and states were seen only playing I Spy game with solacing the migrants but who will say to the administration that just consolations couldn’t satisfy their famish. Who will tell the ministers that the famished poorer, labourer and daily wager doesn’t have TV sets and internet to get your solace and consolations.

On the contrary, police were seen brutally beating the famished migrants with lathis. They must know that Corona can’t be beaten with lathis and their sticks can’t satisfy their famished breadbasket. It was a complete fiasco of the present utterly and brazenly incompetent government. Industries are shut, shops are closed, businesses are inoperative and economy is locked. Who will save the jobs and who will feed the poorer?

The capacity of rich, middle class and NGOs to feed the famished poorer is falling down. The fair price shops are not fair enough and could the Gehun ki Roti only satisfy the hunger?

Reportedly countrymen are facing psychological health problems and there is an increase in such patients during this month long lockdown. Even there are suggestions of some psychiatrists for OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) patients not to listen PM’s speeches on lockdown. The lockdown of present complexion and ambience will have grave economical, social and psychological effect on countrymen, who will be held accountable thereto?

When embarrassments knocked the door of 7-RCR the central government now have decided and started the special trains for the exodus of poor migrants. But unfortunately the ticket fares are around Rs. 750. The poorers don’t have a single penny to meet their famish and thus wans to return their native places have to pay the ticket fairs. What an absurd decision?

There is no word to applaud and admire Congress President Sonia Gandhi for her decision that Congress will bear the cost and ticket fares of poor migrants for their exodus by special trains. Probably the ashamed government will not make the special trains fare free.

Declaring whole district a Containment Zone or a hotspot is an indolence of the administration. The bureaucrats and governments must identify the Containment areas within the individual city and need to seal that particular area and need to distinct hotspot between red, orange and green.

Red hotspot areas within the city must be sealed strictly whilst there must be relaxations in orange and green hotspots. Consequently there may be more convenient relaxations in contradiction of the present one. Anti-lockdown protests have been witnessed so far in US and ors. In view of that the Union of India must ensure that no such thing should happen in exertion by considering of the very aspect to ease the lockdown and/or to end the lockdown.

To kick-start the economy without the economy hub of India i.e. Mumbai is a pointless and senseless decision that won’t serve any purpose. Somewhat relaxations in Mumbai will only kick-start the economy of the nation. All standalone shops, construction works, urban industries and offices must be opened and operational. Religous places of the area within the city where no single patient exist needs to be reopened in MMR region too. Excluding of MMR region is such an indolent and incompetent behavior of the State Government of Maharashtra.

Lockdown in the whole nation or state or district or a city is not a solution. Searching, testing and sealing the hotspots or Containment area is the answer for resolution. More convenient relaxations, Ease the lockdown, End the lockdown.

[The writer, Uzair A. J. Naje (Uzair Naje), a student from Kalyan, Dist. Thane, Maharashtra, is a member of Consumer Guidance Society of India Mumbai and of Indian National Congress. His grandson Late Mohd. Bakir Naje or Baqir Naaz, a councilor for 36 years, had served as the City President of Kalyan Municipality. Views expressed are pesonal.]

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