As the 21-day coronavirus lockdown continues, videos and reports have shown that many policemen tasked with enforcing the rules have been harassing delivery personnel, people who have gone out to buy essentials and even doctors.
On Thursday, the police chief of Badaun, a district in Uttar Pradesh, issued an apology after a video that showed police personnel forcing migrant workers to crawl on the road went viral.
In the video, a cane-wielding cop can be seen asking the men, who are carrying backpacks, to crawl on the street and jump. At least five people can be seen crawling on their hands and knees on an empty road under the hot sun.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday that India would be under a complete lockdown for 21 days, giving people notice of just four hours, many reports have said that panicked migrant labourers have been struggling to get back to their villages. Unable to find work or transport, many have begun walking the hundreds of kilometres to their homes, dealing with hunger, exhaustion and often, policemen who have been asked to enforce the total lockdown.
The video, which was shared by many journalists, drew massive condemnation on social media.
Ashok Kumar Tripathi, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Badaun, said in a video, “I feel sorry and apologise for this. Investigation is being conducted against the responsible person.”
Tripathi claimed that the act had been done by a constable who was “under training”.