COVID-19 | Enforcing social distancing is challenge as people don't listen: Mumbai cop

Updated: May 19, 2020, 08:13 IST | Faizan Khan, Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

COVID-19 tightens grip on Mumbai police as 550 personnel are currently infected, people flouting social-distancing norms add to the difficulties

Dongri police manage migrants waiting to board a Shramik Special in Masjid Bunder. Pic/Ashish Raje
Dongri police manage migrants waiting to board a Shramik Special in Masjid Bunder. Pic/Ashish Raje

Mumbai police, which has so far lost eight of its personnel and has 550 currently suffering from COVID-19, continues to be on the frontlines of the pandemic. With people not willing to listen to police and maintain social distancing, senior officers say their job is becoming more difficult and dangerous with time.

According to data from Mumbai police, till May 17, around 651 cops tested positive for COVID-19, of which, 93 have recovered. The maximum numbers have been reported in south and central Mumbai. Police are facing many challenges to enforce social distancing and are coming in contact with many people.

Worst-hit police stations
The JJ Marg police station is the worst-affected with 46 personnel testing positive, followed by Sahar police station with 26 cases, Dharavi police station with 19 cases, Wadala with 17, Pydhonie with 13, Nirmal Nagar with 14, Vakola with 12, Aagripaada, Shivaji Park, Sahu Nagar (Dharavi), Nagpada and Navghjar with 11 each and LT Marg with 10.

"Enforcing social distancing is challenging as people don't listen. They step out of their homes, putting their and others lives at risk. Whenever and wherever there is a crowd, officers and staff have to visit the area to disperse them. They end up coming in contact with the people. Recently, there have been instances when migrants came on to the roads to protest or to demand for trains to go home. At that time, too, policemen had to go to disperse them," a senior officer said.

"There are a number of reasons for staff getting infected, one of them is, of course, enforcing social distancing. Another factor is that many accused who have been arrested for various offences were later found to be infected, which led to the police personnel getting infected too," a senior officer told mid-day.

Apart from local police stations, special branches officers who had been deployed at different locations to maintain law and order have also been infected. As per the Mumbai police data, 134 staff from the Armed Police (AP) division have reported positive, 20 from the Protection and Security department, 20 from traffic department, 11 from Crime Branch, 12 from Quick Response Teams (QRT) and 16 from Motor Transport Department.

"We are taking necessary steps and ground staff is being provided with protection. Staff is getting infected due to continuous duties outdoor," said Deputy Commissioner of Police Pranaya Ashok, spokesperson for Mumbai police. Recently, Mumbai police commissioner Param Bir Singh visited the most-affected police stations, JJ Marg and Shahu Nagar to boost the staff's morale.

Killed in the line of duty

Sandip Surve 52, police head constable, Vakola police station.

Murlidhar Waghmare, 53, Assistant Sub Inspector, Sewri police station

Bhagwan Parte, 45, constable, Shivaji Nagar police station

Amol Kulkarni, 33, Assistant Police Inspector, Shahu Nagar police station

Sunil Kargutkar, 54, head constable, VB Nagar police station

Shivaji Sonawane, 56, constable, Kurla traffic division

Ganpat Pendurkar, 52, constable, special branch

Madhukar Mane, 57, Assistant Sub Inspector, Motor Transport Department, Nagpada

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