Coronavirus outbreak: Amid lockdown, cops forcing shops to shut, allege citizens

Updated: Apr 02, 2020, 08:01 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

The CP replied, 'There are no such orders passed by Mumbai Police, and shops selling essential commodities are allowed to stay open twenty four hours'.

Police instruct shoppers to maintain social distance while shopping at a market in Dadar at the beginning of the lockdown. Pic/Atul Kamble
Police instruct shoppers to maintain social distance while shopping at a market in Dadar at the beginning of the lockdown. Pic/Atul Kamble

The Mumbai police seem to be adding to the woes of some locals traumatised by the lockdown due to COVID-19. Many of them from various parts of the city have alleged that the police are shutting down shops and vegetable stores despite instructions to keep them open 24X7.

Despite the lockdown, citizens have been permitted to venture out of their homes to buy essential goods such as groceries, vegetables and medicines. To reduce crowds at shops, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray allowed shop owners and vendors to keep businesses open 24X7. Many Mumbaikars have taken to social media, especially Twitter to complain about the alleged high-handedness of the police.

'Shutting as per orders'
Edelbert Fernandez, one of them wrote, "I reside at South Mumbai near Metro Cinema, Marine Lines (E). Why are the police closing down essential goods stores citing time limit?" He added, "The crowding is happening as shops are open for less time. The police claim they are shutting down shops as per order from headquarters."

Parth Satra from Goregaon, wrote, "They are closing down shops across Mumbai. I faced it in Goregaon too !".

Dr Sandeep Ghiya from Mulund said, "All vegetable vendors in Mulund Colony are being shut down at 7pm, leading to crowding around 7pm. Please review!"

While citizens are facing issues to buy essential goods, shop owners are also having a tough time. Nitin Supi, a grocery store owner in Kandivali, said, "There is undue harassment by police staff to grocery suppliers during the lockdown. No police are available at the Samta Nagar Police station to issue essential service pass or to acknowledge request of pass".

No such orders: CP
On Tuesday, Mumbai Police Commissioner Parambir Singh interacted with citizens through Twitter. He was questioned about the actions of the police against shops. "Sir, I live in Null Bazar and the grocery shops here are selling stuff early morning from 7am to 9am only and they're saying "We have to close down as police ordered them to close everything at 9am." Have any such orders been given to them?" a person asked.

The CP replied, "There are no such orders passed by Mumbai Police, and shops selling essential commodities are allowed to stay open twenty four hours".

"The Commissioner of Police has clarified that there are no such orders about time frame to essential goods shops. If something of this sort happens, citizens should immediately contact Mumbai Police Control on 100," said DCP (PRO) Pranay Ashok.

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