Chaos caused by sudden lockdown, Delhi Minorities Commission writes to Police:NCR

Repeated instances of harassment of relief workers and intimidation by the police led Dr. Islam to write to the police commissioner

delhi lockdown

Utter chaos that has been unleashed on Delhi, as uniformed policemen have begun patrolling the streets. 
The Delhi Police, which gets its orders from the Union Home Ministry (MHA) seems to have gained more muscle after the strict nationwide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night.

The Prime Minister’s address was mid way when thousands rushed out of home towards shops and pharmacies in panic to buy whatever stocks they could. Many shops across the city were crowded by hundreds of people, mosty without any protective masks. Social distancing was not even a thought. 
This went on till late into the night. 

However, things got worse on Wednesday when the chaos on deserted Delhi streets took on a strange form. There were no crowds but area policemen did not let people  go out even for legitimate pressing needs. Most of these people had stayed put and not rushed out in the morning, but waited for things to settle and hoped the government systems would be in place the next day.

Vendors and delivery persons were beaten according to many reports. Ordinary citizens stepping out to buy groceries, milk and medicines were also hounded by the authorities. 

According to Delhi Minorities Commission Chairman Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, he’s received many reports of such cases. He has been one of the first official, and eminent citizens to write to the Commissioner of Police Delhi and seek answers. 

“Although essential supplies are allowed, grocery shops, milk supplies, chemists, hospitals etc are allowed to open and people are allowed to go out for essential needs with a self-declaration, but your personnel on the streets are not allowing people to leave their homes. This is inhuman and will soon lead to riots on the streets of Delhi because people must survive and for this they must get essential food and medicine supplies in time,” stated Dr Khan. 

He has asked the police commissioner to instruct the ground force deployed on the streets and at the various check-posts in the city, “to be humane and allow people to do what has been permitted under law.” 

He has also asked the commissioner to tell the force to allow vendors of vegetables, fruits and milk suppliers to move freely.

The chairman pointed out that many people were also stranded in the city. The worst affected have been the migrant workers, many of whom have found themselves homeless now.  Reports of those left to fend for themselves in various parts of the city have been circulating on television news, and on social media. Most of these are migrant labourers fromUttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Bihar, who cannot even return home because the borders are sealed and they have no public transportation, or identity documents. 

These labourers do not have any place to stay in the city, or access to food. The DMC chairman has asked that these people must be allowed to return to their villages. He writes that they, “must be allowed/helped to go out with dignity. If not, you must provide them with shelter and announce them adequately.”

That the police have been stopping people from going to buy essentials, and scaring vendors into shutting shop and fleeing, has especially affected the areas which are home to lower income groups. Even worse affected are those who are yet to recover from the violent February 2020 pogrom, they barely managed to escape death but lost all their belongings,livelihoods and their homes. 

According to a volunteer helping in the relief work in a riot affected areas of North-east Delhi, the police are beating up vendors, stopping relief workers from delivering food even to the riot survivors who are not taking shelter in safe houses. 

Some volunteers have wasted an entire day running pillar to post to get curfew passes. “The police do not have clear instructions, nor do they have much information. We are looking at very scary day’s ahead if things are not sorted in a day or two,” she said, even as she rushed to the local police station to get her two wheeler released. She was on her way to get a curfew pass when she was stopped and her vehicle impounded. “I need my scooty, and a pass to restart distributing relief material tomorrow onwards.” 



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