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How police is spreading Covid-19 message




Policemen feeding stray dogs on the street. | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Representational image | Policemen feeding stray dogs | Photo: Praveen Jain | ThePrint

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New Delhi: As India braces itself for another 19 days under lockdown, police across the country are adopting novel and innovative methods to spread awareness about the coronavirus pandemic.

From singing to accessorising their uniforms — the police is exploring multiple creative avenues to urge people to stay at home and effectively curb the spread of the virus.

Just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the lockdown to 3 May Tuesday, the Mumbai police shared ‘Lockdown Lessons’ — a series of two-liners that are a take on the poems by Rosesh Sarabhai, a character from the classic comedy show ‘Sarabhai vs Sarabhai’.

Also read: Bringing friend home in suitcase to ‘Corona cakes’: Quirky ways Indians dealing with lockdown

Coronavirus awareness through songs 

It’s not just humour that the police are using. Several of them are also singing modified songs and even original compositions to spread awareness.

A police officer from Kolkata interspersed a popular song from Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s iconic 1969 movie ‘Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne’ with public service messages on coronavirus last week.

Similarly, a Hyderabad policeman sang his version of ‘Ek Pyaar Ka Nagma Hai’ from the Hindi movie Shor (1972) and incorporated the lines “Hum sabne nibhana hai, Zindagi ko hum sabhi ko corona se bachana hai” (We all have to save our lives from corona).

Punjab Police went a step ahead and released a music video of Sub-Inspector Baljinder Singh, popularly also known as Pamma Malhi, singing about the coronavirus. The song is an original composition, written by Assistant Sub-Inspector Partap Waris.

Inspector General of Madhya Pradesh Police Vivek Sharma also chose to address his fellow police officials by singing the patriotic song ‘Hum Honge Kamyaab’ last week. Indore has emerged as a coronavirus hotspot, with a total of 328 coronavirus cases.

Also read: How we watch and pay for entertainment will never be the same after Covid-19

‘Corona helmets’ and ‘Corona horse’

Police officers have also been taking to innovative accessories to make a point about the deadly nature of the pandemic.

Policemen in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore were spotted wearing ‘corona helmets’ — red-coloured helmets with monstrous spikes coming out of them,

While in Andhra Pradesh, photographs of Sub-Inspector Maruthi Shankar riding a ‘corona horse’ had gone viral earlier last month. Strapped onto a white horse with red spots, Shankar was seen making announcements related to Covid-19 in the Kurnool district of the state.

Uttarakhand police officials collaborated with an artist and dressed up as ‘Yamraj’ — the Hindu God of Death — to emphasise importance of staying home and the dangers of the disease.

Also read: Covid lockdown shows Indian police isn’t all brutal. Some officers can sing for us, feed poor

Busting fake news

Several police handles on Twitter are also actively engaged in busting fake news and misinformation on social media.

Last week, the Arunachal Pradesh Police called out a news report claiming that the state had 11 coronavirus patients, who could be traced back to the Tablighi Jamaat function in Delhi that took place in March. The state police handle took to Twitter to clarify that only one case of coronavirus had been registered in the state so far.

The Karnataka police has launched a website dedicated to fact-checking and busting fake news on coronavirus. The website can be used to cross-check any information doing the rounds, in order to ascertain its authenticity.

The Uttar Pradesh Police has also been consistently using Twitter to tackle misinformation on social media for the past two weeks.

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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