Recall the scenes on streets across Odisha when ‘police excess’ was palpable. In trying to contain the spread of Covid pandemic and breaking the transmission chain of the virus, the cops deployed on duty went the whole hog. So much so that they forgot the lessons in human compassion while zealously trying to enforce the lockdown. It was the first wave of Covid in the summer of 2020 and everything was supposedly dealt with a stern hand. And, in the battle against an obdurate virus, the people experienced the high-handedness of the police, in broad daylight.
The media did a noteworthy job by capturing in their lenses and on print the ruthless scenes- visuals that testified how the posse of police forces went overboard in their action. The victims were the ordinary people who struggled hard during the peak pandemic to eke out a living. Also, those who were tormented were the gallant Covid warriors and their kin. The scenes and videos went viral on the social media. Some of the citizens who doubled up as journalists, wrote open letters to none less than the Chief Minister, flagging the purported cruelty and draconian acts of the police. This precipitated swift action from the powers that be and restored some sanity in the administration anchored Covid management.
If you compare the scenario of last year with that of what’s happening today, the change is refreshingly welcome. Today, the Coronavirus has mutated, developing new strains and disconcerting scientists and policy makers alike with its variants of concern. The need for a calibrated Covid strategy to tame this virulent pandemic is perhaps more needed than the year ago period. In response to the intensifying pandemic, the state machinery has clamped weekend shutdown in urban locations to curb its spread, especially in the hotspots where the concentration of virus grows unabated.
Yet, there is no harsh measure directed at the public. Some may attribute it to the rising awareness amongst the public that has sensitized them to deal more cautiously with a rampaging virus. But it doesn’t take away any lustre from the remarkable efforts invested by a revamped Commissionerate of Police helmed by Soumendra Priyadarshi. Mr Priyadarshi who has stood the test of time and countered some of the seemingly intractable law & order situations in Odisha, has proved his mettle yet again. He has shown what amiable policing can achieve. Thanks to his change leadership mantra, the police are now polite and sensitive to the people’s concerns. And, he has made the Commissionerate Police a citizen centric and more responsive institution. Leading from the front, Mr Priyadarshi actively responds to the stream of queries posted by netizens across social media platforms. “Our police is here to give protection and safeguard to the cores of common people of their life & goodness in general. We are duty bound to do so. In doing so, people will be more cautious and sensible in obeying the regulations of government authorities”, he humbly says.
I have the highest regards for the police fraternity that fights for the rights of the citizens. Let’s profusely salute the spirit of the cops who are risking their lives to keep us safe.
Written By- Dibyajit Sahu
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