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7 creative ways Indian police punish covid-19 lockdown violators

From performing 'aartis' to demanding for a ‘sorry’ written 500 times, Indian police are going beyond the rule-book and, for a change, getting praised for it

Mumbai police punish those found violating the curfew.
Mumbai police punish those found violating the curfew. (Photo: Getty Images)

To keep 1.2 billion people indoors for weeks on end is an unenviable task. But when India went under a lockdown on 25 March, that’s what the Indian police were charged with.

As expected, there was some degree of force and violence: the police are no stranger to deploying batons on suspected law-breakers. But it also birthed some surprisingly creative means of enforcement from personnel across the country.

We compiled a few memorable ones:

Writing ‘sorry’ 500 times in Rishikesh

A police officer in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, likely channelled his middle-school memories while punishing a group of foreign nationals lounging by the Ganges earlier this month. Their punishment: writing “I did not follow the rules of lockdown. I am very sorry" on a piece of paper 500 times. “Today I give you a very short punishment," the officer is heard saying to one of the tourists in a video. “Otherwise I take you to police station and you get jail! Understand?"

Performing 'aartis' in Thane

When the police in Thane district in Maharashtra intercepted a group of morning walkers in the earlier this month, a female constable was waiting for them with a pooja ki thaali. In a video of the incident, she is seen performing an aarti of the violators while police personnel around her clap and sing a mocking ditty set to the tunes of the devotional song Om Jai Jagdish Hare. One of its lines go, “Coronavirus is out to kill you, these people still don’t get it."

Chandrapur police have their own version of the exercise. Their violators get aartis, garlands, a teeka on their foreheads, even a flower-shower.

Yoga in Pune

Pune police personnel had a different way of dealing with morning walkers: putting them through a guided yoga session on the road. A video of one such incident shows an officer guiding the lockdown violators through various suryanamaskaram exercises over loudspeaker. And yes, the violators maintained the requisite social distancing while exercising.

Ambulance with fake corona patient in Tiruppur

Last week, Tamil Nadu police released a prank-video showing lockdown violators put in an ambulance with a (mock) covid-19 patient. Although the video was scripted, the real-life gag format of the video seems to have resonated with many, as the video went viral within hours of its release.

Drawing circles in Shahjahanpur

A police officer from Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh, decided to outsource civic responsibilities to lockdown violators. In a video released by the Shahjahanpur police last month, a man is seen drawing circles with limestone powder around a grocery store so as to facilitate social distancing.

An assortment of warm-up exercises

Sit-ups, push-ups, squats, frog hop... police personnel across India are generously borrowing from athletes’ training routines to punish the lockdown violators.

Masakali 2.0 on loop in Jaipur

When the reboot of the AR Rahman classic was getting trolled on social media earlier this month, Jaipur police warned lockdown violators to that it’d use the song as a torture device. "If you are unnecessarily roaming outside," a poster on its Twitter handle reads, "we will put you in a room & play Masakali 2.0 on loop."

And that’s how they killed two birds with one tweet.

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