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Demigods not demons: Role of the khaki frontline warriors

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India has witnessed one of the sternest lockdowns in the nation. The Police warriors are doing a range of jobs: implementing the lockdown, connection tracing, handling check-points, providing safekeeping at high-risk zones like hospitals, quarantine hubs, containment regions, and – essentially – comforting people’s qualms about coronavirus. 

While serving the nation during such uncertain and negative times, allegations of using unnecessary force, corruption and human rights abuse against the police are not unusual. Accusations of policemen harassing small shopkeepers and vendors have been also making rounds but what the Twitterati and critics of these Frontline Warriors don’t realize is that with a population of 1.3 billion it is not possible to excuse the unlawful behavior of the many delinquents who fail to realize the depth of the situation and the harm it can cause. Some sections of society have shown complete disdain for the law and have indulged in irresponsible criminal acts of targeting the medical, paramedical staff and the police who had principally visited these sections to primarily help their communities. If the police do not hold such people accountable for their actions it will only be harnessing the problems for tomorrow. Some times a little force, when used in moderation, helps bring out the disciple that is needed to fight such a pandemic.

The question arises, does the police lack the milk of human kindness? The answer is a solid “No”, there are several stories where the police have helped the citizens by providing food, medicines, and lift in case of medical and other emergencies. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, the police have gone beyond the call of their duty to provide succor to the distressed citizens.

A video went viral showing a visibly emotionally lonely senior citizen breaking down looking at a Chandigarh Police team surprised him with a cake to celebrate his birthday. Another viral video was of hilarious reactions of lockdown violators spoofed by Chennai Police into locking them in an ambulance with a fake Covid-19 patient as a punishment.

Tammana in Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh was pregnant a child and was worried. Her husband Anil was at work hundreds of kilometers away in Noida. Thanks to the lockdown, Anil could not travel to Bareilly. A desperate Tamanna made a video and tagged the SSP of Bareilly who forwarded it to his colleagues in Noida. A Deputy CP at GB Nagar, Ranvijay Singh, took it up as a subjective experiment and guaranteed that Anil touched Bareilly without any hiccups notwithstanding the travel ban. A healthy fledgling boy was delivered and the thankful parents named him Mohhamed Ranvijay.

But such heart-warming sagas of benevolence during the coronavirus pandemic are only half the story: behind them are more unseen tales of fortitude, duty, and sacrifice, making the Khaki men “frontline warriors” of India’s combat against coronavirus.

As these Frontline Warriors hold up a critical piece of India’s battle against coronavirus, it’s taking a toll on the country’s overworked cops. Apart from the snags involving interminable working hours and long separation from families, being on the front lines means giving up for others any only being in arms with corona warrior brothers. 

Though such harsh times are intriguing the cops have also been seen singing popular Bollywood songs on megaphones to inspire and entertain people. Captures of such gestures have gone viral on social media and in many places, people have equivocally  showered flower petals on policemen for the sacrifices they’ve made and the lives they’ve martyred.

Anil Kohli, Shivaji Sonawane, Yashwant Pal, these are one of the many names of the frontline police personnel who have selflessly dedicated their lives to maintain peace and order during this “mahamaari”, and gave their lives chanting one of the many slogans by the police “Zindagi maut na ban jaaye, sambhalo yaaron”.

This paradigm change for the Indian police which was conventionally termed in public perception as immoral, unproductive and hoity-toity to becoming a phenomenally popular and trustworthy force is a sight to devour, but what is for us to see that how long does the public salute the flutes of these so-called demons turned demigods.

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