Srinagar: In Kashmir, policemen are out on the roads enforcing the lockdown that’s in place to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been working non-stop and in double shifts since the lockdown was enforced a fortnight back. Most of them have not been to their homes or met their families for days.
“We are missing our families but we are performing our duties for the safety of the people. We want people to stay indoors, we are ready to sacrifice our lives for the safety of the people and be on duty for 24 hours,” said a policeman on duty at Lal Chowk in Srinagar.
Lockdowns and police deployments are not new for Kashmir which has been grappling with militancy and unrest for decades now. But in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, it is a different challenge altogether.
“There is only one way to deal with a pandemic like COVID -19 and that is to stay indoors. We request people to stay indoors and cooperate with the police,” said a policeman on duty near the Exchange crossing in this city.
“Our physical movement has also got restricted. If we stop a vehicle, we cannot go close to the driver… We maintain physical distance, as we are not sure about the condition of the person we stop. We don’t even go to our homes… Who knows, we might have contracted the infection and can spread it among our family members,” the policeman added.
Police officers in Kashmir said that it is an unprecedented situation. A sense of service towards the society drives the policemen to perform their duties during these testing times, they said.
“Our jawans are working in shifts of 12 hours, putting themselves at risk. We also don’t have personal protection equipment like the medical staff. Our men are performing their duties without all of that with the single aim to serve the society in this time of crisis,” Srinagar SSP Haseeb Moghul said.
“The policemen are doing their duty day and night in double shifts… There is a certain sentiment behind all this as this time it is not militancy or a law and order issue,” added the senior police official.
At a time when most people are staying indoors, the policemen are working extra hours to ensure that the lockdown remains enforced and the disease does not spread.