Coronavirus outbreak: In several pockets of Mumbai, people are defying lockdown orders

Updated: 03 April, 2020 08:00 IST | Anurag Kamble, Shirish Vaktania, Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

The police say they are doing their best to try and keep people safe but they have to co-operate during the lockdown

Ambujwadi, Malwani looked like any other day, with residents sitting by the roadside, or chatting at chowks, on Thursday. PIC/Satej Shinde
Ambujwadi, Malwani looked like any other day, with residents sitting by the roadside, or chatting at chowks, on Thursday. PIC/Satej Shinde

Despite the city having 235 positive cases of COVID-19 and six related deaths so far, Mumbaikars haven't learnt any lessons. The authorities are seriously concerned, but as if mocking the nationwide lockdown, people in many areas of Mumbai are going about their routine, seemingly with a 'chalta hai' attitude.

People roaming on bikes, crowds shopping in vegetable markets, kids playing in grounds are common sights in many areas of Mumbai. These places, referred to as sensitive areas by the police, seem to be beyond the control of authorities.

Here is where people are defying the lockdown:

Crowds confront the police

The police who try to convince residents to go back home are confronted by the crowds at Gadhav Naka, Bhandup West.  PIC/Rajesh GuptaThe police who try to convince residents to go back home are confronted by the crowds at Gadhav Naka, Bhandup West. PIC/Rajesh Gupta

Gadhav Naka, Bhandup West
Time: 12 noon

Gadhav Naka, located at Bhandup (w), has buildings as well as chawls. The lockdown hasn't had any effect as there is a huge crowd on the roads all the time. Patrolling by the police hasn't made any difference. The police who try to convince residents to go back home are confronted by the crowd questioning why can't they come out to buy essentials. But the police have noticed many persons roaming, pretending they have come to buy vegetables. The police have also observed that, as many homes in the area are small, people roam around passing time.

'The crowd gets out of hand'

"There is only one big market in the area, that's why there is a crowd. We are trying to maintain social distancing. But, sometimes the crowd gets out of hand. And we can't stop them,' said Shyam Shinde, senior inspector, Bhandup police station.

'Roads crowded'

A crowd gathers to shop near the Lakshmanrao Yadav Market in Kurla West. PIC/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
A crowd gathers to shop near the Lakshmanrao Yadav Market in Kurla West. PIC/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Lakshmanrao Yadav Market, Kurla West
Time – 9.15 am

Lakshmanrao Yadav Market, is where almost the whole of Kurla gets its vegetable and fruit supply. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has closed it during the lockdown. But roads around the market are filled with vendors and customers.

'People don't listen'

"We have tried everything to reduce the crowd, but if people are not going to listen it will be tough. We have seen whole families going to buy biscuits and milk, vegetables. That's not at all acceptable," said Dattatray Shinde, senior inspector, Kurla police station.

Women slum dwellers abuse the police

The Dongri police have shifted the market in the Dongri Ground near Umarkhadi to reduce the crowd, but it hasn’t made any difference. PIC/Suresh Karkera
The Dongri police have shifted the market in the Dongri Ground near Umarkhadi to reduce the crowd, but it hasn't made any difference. PIC/Suresh Karkera 

Dongri Ground, near Umarkhadi
Time – 10.45am

"We have been urging people to stays indoor but the residents of slum pockets are not convinced. A few female slum dwellers abuse us for doing our duty for their safety. We may be harsh with the violators if they continue to defy the government order," said a police officer. The Dongri police have shifted the market in the Dongri Ground near Umarkhadi to reduce the crowd, but the alternative hasn't made any difference in the crowd. The police are trying hard to make people understand social distancing and are assuring them all essentials will be available round the clock, but the crowd is not interested.

'Residents follow orders'

"All the residents are following the orders, there is no situation where residents are non-compliant," said Sandeep Bhagdikar, senior inspector, Dongri police station.

Crowds throng streets

Jari Mari, Kranti Nagar Market, Sakinaka
Time – 10.30am

Hundreds of residents here came out to buy vegetables and essentials. Many idle persons were sitting by the roadside. Many markets across Sakinaka have been closed by the BMC, but those operating have added to the woes of the cops.

'People are co-operating'

"There was some issue few days back about crowding. But, couple of days ago a COVID-19 one patient died, so residents are shaken. There is some crowding at the bazaar. But people are cooperating," said Kishore Sawant, senior inspector, Sakinaka Police

'Crowd has significantly reduced'

RRT Road, Mulund (W)
Time: 11.30am

RRT Road and Jain Road have a major vegetable and fruit market. Vendors sit on both the sides of the roads selling vegetables and fruits. The Mulund police are finding it difficult to keep tabs on persons, but said the crowd has significantly reduced.

'Must take it seriously'

"The crowd in the market was more today, but it has reduced by 80%. We have allowed only one person from a house to come and buy. Citizens must take this lockdown seriously," said Ravi Sardesai, senior inspector, Mulund Police station.

Labourers seen working without masks

Apna Fal Market, Borivali
Time: 9.15am

Around 150 people were seen shopping in the Apna Fal Market at Borivali West. mid-day's reporter and photographer also found labourers working without using sanitisers or masks. A person who posed as a stall owner said, "Police ne andar jaane se mana kiya hai kisiko bhi. Tum media ho to kuch bhi karenge."

'If crowded, we will act'

"We have informed sellers at the fruit market to maintain social distancing. If we find a crowd we will act," said Laxman Dhumbre, Sr PI, Borivali police station.

Citizens taking everything lightly

New Collector Colony, Malvani
Time – 4.45pm

This where a COVID-19 patient died two days back. Five members of his family have been quarantined. But citizens don't seem to be taking it seriously.

'Will place more cops'

"Whoever is questioned by us says they were out to buy essentials. At many places if our van comes, people shut the gates or shutters of shops, but as we move ahead they open them. We can place a cop every 5 to 10 feet, so citizens must take things more seriously," said Jagdev Kalapad, senior inspector, Malvani police station.

Slum residents defying the lockdown

A police officer speaks to people caught riding during the lockdown. PIC/Suresh Karkera
A police officer speaks to people caught riding during the lockdown. PIC/Suresh Karkera

Mohammed Ali Road, JJ Marg
Time – 11.30 am

People staying in the slum pockets in south Mumbai have been defying the lockdown. An officer attached to the JJ Marg police station said the youngsters haven't understood the gravity of the situation and have riding around on motorcycles. The JJ Marg police have seized hundreds of motorcycles since the lockdown.

"Most of the youth were found with fake medical prescription copies. We nabbed a motorcyclist who is a resident of Mazgaon. When we checked the documents of his motorcycle, they were fake. We have seized his bike and booked him," said the officer.

'Trying to reduce the crowd'

"We are rounding off youngsters who are getting on the road unnecessarily. We are also keeping an eye on the crowd and trying to reduce it," said Sanjeev Bhole, Sr PI, JJ Marg Police station.

Everything as per routine

Kids outside their homes at New Collector Colony gate No. 7, Malad. PIC/Satej Shinde
Kids outside their homes at New Collector Colony gate No. 7, Malad. PIC/Satej Shinde

Ambujwadi, Malvani
Time: 5 pm

It looked like any other day with citizens sitting by the roads, chatting at chowks. Boys were playing with marbles on the road and the police were watching them from the distance. Many youngsters were seen roaming on bikes.

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First Published: 03 April, 2020 07:10 IST

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