Weekend curfew: Delhi gets mixed report card on Day 1


NEW DELHI: The first day of the weekend curfew in Delhi saw a harassed police force handling people with no real reason to be out on the streets, others who paid scant attention to Covid requirements and many who argued with them about why they were out of their homes, some even asking the cops to confirm their co-passengers were ill by checking their body temperatures.

The cops were generally lenient with such people.

At Chilla border, a man and his son claimed they had come to Delhi from Agra for a medical check-up, but when asked the name of the hospital they were going to and to show a supporting document, they couldn’t do so. In the rain, many vehicles were lined up at the border, waiting to enter the capital. Traffic officials forced those without valid documents to turn back from that point. Some said they were returning from night shift at work, while others said they wanted to drive to Chandigarh though they did not have the paperwork required.

A police officer, who did not wish to be named, said, “Announcements were made through various mediums about the weekend curfew, but innumerable people claimed to be unaware of it. Many who had passes and documents to endorse their need to drive were quick to clear the queues, but there were others unnecessarily on the roads who kept us occupied. We couldn’t even go close to them for risk of infection.” Those turned back proffered reasons like they were driving to have their cars serviced or to pick up relatives, etc.

The officer was exasperated that people didn’t even wear their masks properly despite two years of the pandemic. The cops challaned many people who were not wearing masks. One man at India Gate had a furious argument with police, saying he was driving alone and did not need to wear a mask. He was booked but allowed to leave after he said he was going to pick up his doctor wife from Moradabad.

At India Gate, a couple of cars had stopped near the National War Memorial and the families were seen clicking selfies. There was a police picket nearby but most cars had a free passage despite a team of over 12 policemen posted there because there was no way the cars could be asked to take an about-turn since this would have caused a traffic build-up.

In parts of south Delhi and southeast Delhi, many people argued with cops when confronted on why they weren’t wearing masks. “Despite the severity of the Covid infection, people still exchange words when you ask them to put on the mask properly or wear it to cover their mouth and nose,” said a police officer at a picket near Lajpat Nagar.

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