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Police detains commuters till past midnight on Worli Sea Face

Despite the citizens admitting their fault of breaking the rule, Police held more than 50 cars at Worli Seaface, and no action was taken until past midnight. This led to endless wait for commuters which included children, elderly people and with injuries

Police detains commuters till past midnight on Worli Sea Face
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Over the last few months, Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra have been under lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. The government, until recently, had completely shut down movement for all but the essential services. However, under the 'Mission Begin Again' initiative, the state government gave a nod to resume certain activities in the city. Since June 4, some services have resumed in Mumbai.

However, over the last few weeks, people have started traveling across the city, for several reasons. To keep a check on the same, the police has been patrolling in several areas, and check posts have been created for investigation. As per reports, on Sunday, June 28, several citizens were held at Worli Sea Face. In one of the operations, the local police detained several citizens, and stern action was taken against the violators, which led to a traffic jam in the locality. 

It is said that the action taken by the police caused a lot of trouble for commuters. Until midnight, nearly 50 to 60 cars were stopped by the police, leaving the drivers and passengers distraught, many of whom were children, elderly patients, and women. Officers present at the location enquired about the reason for traveling during the curfew, and officers confiscated licenses.

Cars at Worli Sea Face that were held back till 2:30 AM

We are informed that while the citizens admitted their mistake of breaking the rules and violating the norms, they also protested against the action taken by the officers was rude, where some of the cars were held for nearly four to five hours. After questioning, the police asked for the license and a senior officer collected them, and left the spot, leaving the commuters waiting for many hours until midnight. 

In a conversation with Mumbai Live, Nilesh Gada, a resident of Vile Parle said, "My 84-year-old father was sick, so I went to see him at Charni Road. We informed the police about the genuine reason, but no one listened to us. We admitted our mistake and were cooperating with the police for action. As we had children and women with us, we asked them to take necessary action or confiscate the car, and release us with a receipt. But a police officer began abusing us, and eventually, we were stopped by the officers until 2 AM."

Suvidha Pillai, a resident of Mulund, said, "My father was hospitalized a few days ago because of a heart attack. I stayed with them for a few days at their home in Breach Candy, as I had to take care of them. They have no one but us. My husband had come to pick me up, but on our way back to Mulund, we were stopped by the police near Worli Seaface. We tried to tell them the truth, however, no one was willing to listen to us. The police released us later at midnight."

Another resident of Prabhadevi, Nishant Sabnis, said, "I was returning to my house in Prabhadevi, from my parent's house when we were stopped at the 'naka-bandi' which had got us stuck in a one and a half-hour traffic jam. I informed and showed them that my leg was fractured with valid medical documents. However, a police constable failed to listen. Further, he started treating us rudely. Besides this, he was not wearing a badge and upon asking his details, he raised his voice and stressed on showing us his power to do whatever he could, challenging us. He didn’t bother listening to reason and kept saying that he would place a charge and file a case. We later found out that his name was (constable) Parab. I understand that we as citizens were wrong to venture out and should be fined. But the police need to follow decorum and a norm. Such harassment until 2:30 AM is not acceptable, as many cars had babies, elderly people, and children. Despite admitting to the mistake and cooperating with the police, no action was taken on time. We were asked to wait on the road for three hours from 11:30 PM to 2:30 AM. Moreover, the cars were being profiled as luxury cars were allowed to pass through."

Constable Parab without his badge who refused to name himself and was responsible for questioning cars at the check point

Addressing these issues, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations), Pranay Ashok, said, "The curfew is being maintained from 9 PM to 5 AM, where the citizens are only allowed to go to the hospital or medical emergencies within 2 km of their home. Though we have controlled the spread of coronavirus, the danger still continues and this should not be forgotten by the citizens. While the government has given necessary permissions for services to resume, along with essential duties, one has to understand that the rules have been imposed for citizens' benefit, and it is their duty to follow this rule. The police will have to take necessary actions if one fails to follow these norms, and this is being done all over Mumbai."

While the citizens were wrong on their part to venture out, the question remains if this kind of behaviour by the police is justified. The incident in Worli raised several questions again as officers had profiled the cars and let go of some premium cars while asking others to wait. The law applies to everybody and this kind of discriminated behaviour poses several questions against the department. There are practices which officers will have to follow, but despite giving valid reason and showing the document, if some officers continue to raise voices, misuse the power and harass, what step should a civilian take? Seniors were informed about this, and other policemen at duty failed to take action or speak in support.

For a respected department, this is rather shameful, as the police are expected to guide one in the right direction and enforce the law, by remaining calm and maintain the right decorum. 

Note: Mumbai Live appeals to all the citizens, to respect the law, in these tough times. While the lockdown has been difficult, we need to understand that these norms are imposed by the state government, for our benefit. It is our responsibility to respect the law and support in this fight against coronavirus. Officials at the municipal corporation, state government, and the police are working hard to make our lives better, and the least we can do is stay home, and not leave our nests, unless necessary.

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