It took a catastrophic pandemic to bring respect, status and dignity to the police uniform which has often been maligned by the silver screen and citizens for decades.
Last week Pune Police conducted a wedding of a young couple and how! When their scheduled wedding on May 2nd at Dehradun was not possible as they did not get permission to go there, a police constable and his wife did their kanyadaan.
This is just one such story from the many across Maharashtra.
Since the lockdown, the police have been helping senior citizens by door delivering vegetables, fruits, groceries and medicine to their homes. Every police station has been directed to form a team of constables who would address the needs of the elderly. All because; the latter, is the most vulnerable group to catch the coronavirus infection.
And the cops have been admiringly performing this duty as well.
Our cops are in the forefront, ensuring that people stay home, questioning every person on foot, or on a vehicle, the reason why he or she is stirring out. For this, they are out on the streets all through the day.
For the past two days, the police have been given the heavy duty of listing labour migrants – who want to travel by train to their homes – which includes organising their tickets and other logistics.
Dismayed at this added pressure, several former top cops of Maharashtra have appealed to the government not to burden them with tasks that other government departments, who have relatively low work, can handle.
Police personnel have been in the frontline, ensuring safety by barricading scores of red zone and containment areas, driving away and punishing people who violate norms, managing long queues be it at the bus or railway station, liquor shops or ration shops.
They are sometimes at the receiving end of citizens’ ire, some of who have physically assaulted them. However, they carry on like brave soldiers. At the same time, it must be acknowledged that many citizens carry food and tea in their vehicles and offer it to cops, who are on duty on roads.
Cops have been guarding hospitals where CODVID-19 patients have been hospitalised and managing other logistics there. It is our constables who are performing the tedious task of cremating bodies of patients who have died of coronavirus. While a few family members can be present from a distance, it is the police who have to perform the final rites.
It is little surprise that as per the latest figures, 457 policemen in Maharashtra have been detected as Corona positive.
And heart wrenchingly, three of Mumbai’s police constables have died due to this pandemic. D V Guruprasad, former DGP, Karnataka, has rightly stated in his article in Deccan Herald, that, “The coronavirus pandemic is as much a challenge to the cops as to the healthcare professionals, and it is time to be proactive.’’
For a change, police have moved away from VIP bandobast, as VIPs too are under lockdown and come to the rescue of the common man, wherever and whenever needed. As positive cases began rising in the police force, last fortnight an order was issued not to have 50years plus policemen or women to do duty in public places. This has further stressed the remaining cops who are doing longer duties.
Indeed, the pot-bellied `Police Mama’, who was looked at with suspicion of being corrupt and displaying a hell-care attitude towards citizens, has suddenly turned into a saviour.
He is being applauded by citizens; showered with flowers; appreciated for his selfless work. In short, he is not only a street soldier but a family man too.
He is the all-dependable in life’s cherishing moment like a marriage or in the most stoic moment of a funeral of your near and dear one. He and his fraternity deserves all salutations!
Some cops have also let their creativity come through. It is worth noting, that, in order to create public awareness, Delhi Police inspector Suhaib Farooqui has penned a poem on Corona and Mumbai-based music director Sudhakar Sneh has turned it into a soothing song.
The verse of the poem begins thus: Hai waqt’e inqelab, Corona se jung hai… Muh par rakho nakab, Corona se Jung hai… Denge use jawab, Corona se Jung hai… Lena hai use hisab, Ab corona se jung hai…” (In short, we will take up the challenge of the Corona War and appropriately rebut. Cover your mouth with a mask).
Hope Bollywood will soon acknowledge the cops’ awesome role in reel life too!
#Pune365 salutes our cover warriors across the city and the rest of the country.
#All views expressed in this column are the authors and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
That's Vinita Deshmukh, Senior journalist and RTI activist who believes in journalism that reflects the views and needs of the common man.
Get Real And Stay Relevant says Vinita,