Caught on the wrong foot, Chandigarh Police invite Twitter ire for device to ‘nab’ lockdown violators
A pair of pincers mounted on a one-foot pole to “catch” people violating Covid-19 lockdown rules while maintaining safe distance, circulated on social media by Chandigarh Police, has invited public wrathUpdated: Apr 28, 2020 08:32 IST
A pair of pincers mounted on a one-foot pole to “catch” people violating Covid-19 lockdown rules while maintaining safe distance, circulated on social media by Chandigarh Police, has invited public wrath. Many users said it undermines a person’s dignity and stigmatises people suffering from the disease.
A video tweeted on Saturday by UT director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Baniwal showed staff of the VIP security wing demonstrating the device to enable police personnel to catch lockdown violators from a “safe distance.”
A police officer was seen in the video asking an unidentified man to put up his hands before leading him to a police vehicle.
Many Twitter users called it “dehumanising,” with one named Wasir Abbas saying it undermined the dignity of humans. A lawyer, Amitjit, said it violated the principles of detention under the UN Human Rights Council. Another user, Ajay Pal Singh, said that it propagated the idea that people suffering from Covid-19 should be treated like animals.
SOME HUMOUR TOO
Pointing out that police in Nepal had been using a similar device, some Twitter users took recourse to humour, calling it the “long arm of the law.”
Even as the message was circulated on WhatsApp, RS Gill, president of the Sector 8 Resident Welfare Association, said, “In villages we use a similar contraption for animals. Using it on humans is dehumanising. It is understandable that the police personnel want to use this for their safety, but proper safety equipment such as masks, face screens and gloves will be enough.”
There’s no official word, however, on when the device will be brought into use, police officers say.
Commenting on the matter, the head of the security wing, deputy inspector general of police (DIG, traffic and security) Shashank Anand said, “The security wing team had seen this on the internet and tried to replicate it. It will be used if required by the law and order machinery.”
He added that the team on the video, which included inspector Manjeet, head constables Gurdeep and Pawan and constable Usha had given a demonstration of the pedal operated hand sanitation station at the traffic lines in Sector 29.
18,593 PERSONS ROUNDED UP
Chandigarh Police have since March 23 rounded up 18,593 persons for questioning and 181 persons have been booked under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for leaving their homes for morning/evening walks. About 160 more have been booked for going out without face masks.
According to DGP Baniwal, “Everything has its pros and cons. It was made to ensure distance during police action. However, it is still at an experimental stage and we haven’t used it in the field. It can also be improved upon.”