To intensify the crackdown on lockdown violators, higher officials in the Mumbai police department have instructed all senior police inspectors of 94 police stations across the city to register at least 10 cases of violation every day. The authorities said the instruction was issued to ensure that the norms set out by the state government are strictly followed by citizens.
Sources in the department said that senior police inspectors were also directed to update the reader of their respective deputy commissioner of police on the number of cases registered the previous day by 8am every day and the (DCP) readers are told to forward the information to the Mumbai police commissionerate. “If we fail to register 10 cases of violation in a day, then we have been told to present ourselves at the office of our superior at noon the following day,” said a police officer on the condition of anonymity.
When contacted, Mumbai police department spokesperson DCP S Chaitanya said, “Instructions have been given to increase enforcement to make the lockdown more effective.”
He denied that targets were given to police stations on filing cases. However, when The Indian Express forwarded the instructions that police stations across the city had received on WhatsApp, Chaitanya refused to comment.
Claiming that registering 10 cases is an easy target, a senior police inspector said, “I was instructed by my assistant commissioner of police, who have been told by their superiors. So we have started obeying their orders. Registering 10 cases is an easy target because there are lots of people roaming outside without any justifiable reason.”
Meanwhile, the rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the department have created fear in the minds of the police.
“We believe there should be a heavy penalty on every violator, so that we can collect the fine and let them go from spot,” said an officer, adding that registering an FIR would expose them more to the virus.
“If we get hold of a violator, we have to take him to the police station, record his statement and then the offence is registered. We have to then release them on bail, and it takes hours to complete this procedure. It will put us at risk,” added another officer.
Police officials also said they fear that such targets will increase their risk of catching the infection. “Even if we are ready to take the virus, we don’t want our family members to get infected,” said another officer.