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How the Lockdown was implemented in Bangalore: Shri Bhaskar Rao, IPS

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Bhaskar Rao

Police Diaries Episode-1

Namaskara!

This is your Bhaskar Rao, Police Commissioner, Bangalore

On this day, I wish to share with all of you some of the riveting stories from my 30 years of experience serving in the Police Department.

My fellow citizens, let’s start with the booming issue the entire world is facing ‘Corona!’ and How our Bangalore police faced this Pandemic. The virus, that Originated in China and has then spread across the entire globe. Could we really ignore this virus spreading across a big Country, State and City like ours as a common cold? Let me begin by briefly telling you, about how we went about this situation.

During the initial stage by the end of February or the beginning of March 2020, COVID had already entered India in Delhi, But not yet in Bangalore.

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Up until then, we were all living a general social life hugging friends and handshakes were all a common practice. Once we received orders from Delhi, that we are to quarantine everybody travelling from abroad concern began rising among the people. As to why are the people being quarantined? As you all know, Bangalore International Airport is the 3rd largest Airport in India after Delhi and Mumbai. Millions of people travel to and from the airport every single day. BBMP began the Quarantine Process which included a seal on the hand of these commuters. During these initial stages, we were thinking that, “This is a medical & health related issue. What are we to do here?” By then, we still had not grasped the seriousness of the issue. Then, when we received orders from the Central Government to setup space inside Central Police Organisation to quarantine people, that is when we started to see this situation as something much bigger than we had initially thought but even then, we never imagined it to become as big as it is now.

March 13th, the day when the country saw its first death due to Corona, in Kalburgi, Karnataka. The wake-up call was loud and clear, after the first death. Almost every day, the Chief Minister and other important officials were having a meeting to discuss on how to stop the virus from spreading further. 14.4 Million is the Population of Bangalore City having111 Police Stations, 44 Traffic Police Stations, 8 Cyber Crime Police Stations, 2 Women Police Stations, 4 Battalion City Armed Reserved Police and 4 Battalion KSRP is the Strength of Bangalore City Police. We were gradually involved into the program. We started being on high alert by 2nd week of March. By now we began receiving instructions from Central Govt. Firstly, we were told not to allow anyone inside the Police station and instead to setup a tent outside the station to meet all the petitioners. To wash our hands using warm water and disinfectants. To carry sanitizers along. Compulsion to wear masks was not yet imposed, During this time on March 19th our respected Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi, declares to hold ‘Janata Curfew’.

Even before the ‘Janata Curfew’ we had imposed ‘Section 144’ in Bangalore.

After we imposed the ‘Section 144’, the Prime Minister in their addressing said, “I need a few weeks from all of you” That is when we realised that this lockdown or curfew may go on for more than 10 days even and we will need to be well prepared to handle the situation. The people of Bangalore voluntarily self-imposed a ‘Janata Curfew’ on March 19th and brought the city to a complete standstill. Except for the media and other essential services. Under the respected Mr. Yediyurappa’s administration the govt. of Karnataka began taking manyprecautionary actions, even before the Central Govt. or any other state govts. Multiplexes, malls, Colleges and Schools were closed.

On the evening of March 24, the Prime Minister in their addressing to the nation announced a 6-week long lockdown from 24th March to 3rd May & asked the people to stay at their homes. This was a new scenario for us, the Police as well. We used Guns, Batons & Tear gas when ‘Section 144’ was imposed. Everyone was ordered to stay at their homes this message was clear. How to tell a city of 14+ Million people to stop going to offices, schools, colleges, business etc for a month to stay home and make sure that the same is being strictly followed by the people? Respected Chief Secretary, held a meeting after the Prime Minister’s addressing at around 10:30PM. In the meeting, it was decided to make most offices, barring a few to implement the ‘Work-From-Home’ process through-out the state. After which I asked our Additional CP Mr. Swamendu to round up all our DCPs by 12AM. Our DGP, Mr.

Praveen Sood, Additional DG, Law & Order. Additional DG, Intelligence Mr. Kamal Pant and me, all sat together and headed the meeting to discuss and plan more on how to go about implementing the lockdown.

The first and one of the most important things that was discussed was to not apply any kind of force on the people. Secondly, the responsibility of distributing passes for essential services was decided to be taken up by the Police. and thirdly, the facilities and services to be given to COVID positive patients were also discussed. These 3 things were the main agenda of the meeting in this initial stage.

In the next episode, I will let you know how the lockdown was enforced in the city. How1000’s of passes were distributed to people? How the essential services were made available to people by maintaining the social distance at all times?

Another article on Mr. Bhaskar Rao, IPS: “Don’t be a Singham! Create Singhams!” Meet Mr. Bhaskar Rao, IPS.

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