Every day, in these extraordinary times, the social media, as well as the Indian news channels, are flooded with viral videos featuring policemen thrashing and humiliating people for violating the lockdown orders. Yet, to be fair to the constabulary, they haven’t severely punished anyone for breaking the lockdown. They have employed lathis (sticks) occasionally but the gun has remained safely in the holster.
<img class="alignnone wp-image-1415" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/police2.jpg" alt="" width="610" height="371" />
In fact, the rank and file of Indian police have been playing a heroic role during the Covid-19 pandemic. Along with the medical personnel, of course.
They've come face to face — literally —with the spitting Tablighis and encountered stone pelting mobs. The valiant Punjab Assistant Sub-Inspector Harjeet Singh even had his hand chopped off.
Many policemen have also died, and hundreds of them are in isolation currently, after being tested positive while contracting the virus in the line of duty.
Not in the other countries though.Turkish police killed a 19-year-old boy Ali El Hemdan, a refugee from Syria, in Adana Monday because he was reportedly running away from them to not get fined. People aged below 20 and above 65 years are under curfew in the country.
<img class="alignnone wp-image-1414" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/police3.jpg" alt="" width="603" height="452" />
"It was alleged that the murdered boy was under the age of twenty, fled for the street because he was working and fled the police because he was afraid of punishment. Adana Governor's Office declared that the police officer who shot Ali Hemdan was taken into custody and that the judicial and administrative investigation started," reported Gazete Manifesto. (<a href="https://gazetemanifesto.com/2020/adanada-polisin-vurdugu-suriyeli-genc-hayatini-kaybetti-351923/amp/?__twitter_impression=true">https://gazetemanifesto.com/2020/adanada-polisin-vurdugu-suriyeli-genc-hayatini-kaybetti-351923/amp/?__twitter_impression=true</a>)
The killing kicked up a huge furor in Turkey as #AliyiOElduerenlerNerede was trending at the top in the central Asian country with over 85,000 tweets made on it till Wednesday morning.
Earlier this month, as reported by the German public international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, the Philippines police shot dead a 63-year-old "for not wearing a mask and provoking officers." (<a href="https://www.dw.com/en/man-shot-dead-for-flouting-coronavirus-rules/a-53018149">https://www.dw.com/en/man-shot-dead-for-flouting-coronavirus-rules/a-53018149</a>).
It needs to be mentioned here that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered police and military to shoot at sight those citizens who defy Covid-19 lockdown orders.
There are several more ghastly tales from other corners of the globe where local police severely punished lockdown violators.
The Indian police, meanwhile, has succeeded in enforcing the lockdown in a country of 1.3 billion people with much less violence.
And even the so-called 'human rights violations' were because politicians and senior officers wanted the violators to be taught a lesson.
A state Home Minister had openly instigated the cops to use lathis against the lockdown violators.
While the opinion will always remain divided on the level of force a policeman can use, at times in defence, let's hope that the beat constable is given the respect he deserves for doing his duty unfailingly..