Paramilitary forces deployed in Ahmedabad to ensure people adhere to strict lockdown

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has announced a strict lockdown for a week, only allowing milk parlors and medicine shops to operate


In the wake of Ahmedabad city entering a complete shutdown from May 7 to May 15, five companies of paramilitary forces from New Delhi arrived in Ahmedabad on Thursday after the state government requested the Centre for assistance, reported The Indian Express.

Nowhere in the country has there been implemented such a strict lockdown which involves the use of paramilitary forces. According to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, there are about 2,000 ‘super spreaders’ working in vegetables, fruits and grocery shops, supermarkets and ice-cream parlors and also those engaged in home delivery of items.

According to police officials, apart from as many as 38 companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) and the paramilitary forces already being deployed of old city Ahmedabad, four companies of the Border Security Force (BSF) and one company of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) were flown into Ahmedabad on Thursday to man the streets of the walled city area, which reported the most number of COVID-19 cases in the state.  

Armed personnel of the BSF, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the CISF were deployed from Thursday at the Delhi Darwaza in old city Ahmedabad, where they also conducted a flag march. The paramilitary forces have been deployed in Dani Limda, Madhavpura, Isanpur, Maninagar, Asarwa, Gomtipur and Shahibaug.

“Paramilitary force has been deployed in the containment areas of Ahmedabad and Surat where there is high spread of infection. At the behest of the request of the chief minister, the union government has sent companies of paramilitary forces in a special plane,” said Shivanand Jha, Director General of Police, Gujarat.

A total of 57 micro containment zones have been created in the containment zones where societies and ‘pols’ have been sealed and barricaded for the stoppage of entry and exit of all residents. These areas are being watched by the police. Officials also informed that all roads and bridges in the city will be closed from 7 PM to 7 AM every day till May 15.

“Strict patrolling is being done in the containment areas and every person and vehicle entering and exiting will be checked. Medical staff, people with emergency services and those who are going to hospitals in daytime will not be stopped,” said Jha.

“We have companies of BSF, CISF, SRP and CRPF to secure the containment areas of Ahmedabad and in micro containment area, police personnel have been given personal protection equipment (PPE) suits,” said Ashish Bhatia, Commissioner, Ahmedabad police.

A similar total lockdown was also enforced by the Bopal-Ghuma municipality, a suburb of Ahmedabad, to prevent a possible influx of people from the corporation-controlled areas of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

The Bopal-Ghuma municipality has seen around 15 positive Covid-19 cases, mostly in the north Bopal area. It was among the first to ban the entry of food delivery agents. In the area, Star Bazaar was closed down after an employee working there had tested positive for the coronavirus.

Jigisha Shah, President of the Bopal-Ghuma municipality said, “Now that the Ahmedabad city is closed, people from corporation areas might come to the municipality. The infection can spread through vegetable vendors and if we do not close, there will be a lot of rush into the municipality from the corporation areas. There are multiple roads that connect this area with the city. So this decision had to be taken to prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

The lockdown in the Bopal-Ghuma municipality came into enforcement on May 7 and will last for two more days after the lockdown in Ahmedabad which ends on May 15. In Bopal-Ghuma, milk shops will be allowed to operate from 7 AM to 11 Am and medical stores will be open throughout the day. Asking about why the lockdown in Bopal-Ghuma was extended to May 17, Shah said, “When the AMC areas open (on May 16), we do not want any old vegetable stock to come in to our area. The two extra days gives us a buffer time and will help only fresh vegetable stocks to enter our area.”

However, despite the notification from the municipality shops were seen to be open. People had also queued up in front of roadside vegetable vendors.

Speaking about it, Shah said, “This notification was issued at late night yesterday after the AMC’s notification. So I need to give some time to the people in Bopal and Ghuma areas to make urgent purchases before the entire place closes down for 10 days.”

While Gujarat is blaming the common man for being ‘super spreaders’, it has readily ignored its folly in organizing the ‘Namaste Trump’ event, which got millions of people together even when Covid-19 was declared to be a global health emergency. As journalist Mahesh Langa of The Hindu put it in an interview to The Wire, “The Gujarat government was busy preparing for the Namaste Trump event and then in winning over the Congress all the while the threat of coronavirus was looming over the state. It didn’t make any preparations knowing what was to follow. In portraying the Gujarat Model which is all about industrial development, the government completely sidelined the education and public health sector which are in shambles now. Currently, there are 65 percent vacancies in government hospitals and the onus of public health is completely in the hands of the private sector. There is no staff in government hospitals, even in the rural areas. The result of ignoring public health is now in front of the citizens and they are now facing the repercussions of the same.”


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