Cops turn creative to spread awareness

Policemen in India are taking steps to ensure that people are taking the nationwide lockdown seriously.

They are vigilant and punishing anyone who is spotted loitering or violating the protocol.

In the beginning, they caned violators or made such people do sit-ups. Now, after their method drew flak, they have gone creative.

Understanding the urgency of making people aware of how serious the situation is, they have adopted unique ways, such as riding a horse painted with the coronavirus' images to wearing Covid-19 helmets and singing, to spread the message.

On Monday, Sub-Inspector Maruti Sankar was spotted in Peapully, a hill town in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district, riding a white horse that had been painted with coronavirus graffiti using pink paint and making loudspeaker announcements asking people to stay indoors.

He told news agency IANS that he was inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's drive to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.

"Using the horse was a symbolic move," he said. "The villagers will understand if I say that if they are not careful, coronavirus will spread faster than a horse can gallop. The red spots on the horse depict the coronavirus".

Many lauded the sub-inspector's effort, but he was also slammed on social media for ill-treating an animal.

Animal lovers on Twitter pointed out that the paint was probably not good for the horse's health. Some even suggested that the policeman should have painted himself instead of the animal and worn a mask.

Other policemen across India too have tried out unusual ways to spread awareness about the coronavirus and send people indoors.

This week, a policeman in Chennai was seen wearing a corona-helmet while interacting with alleged lockdown violators.

Policemen in Bengaluru were also seen wearing similar helmets and enacting a play on a road.

The city's Assistant Commissioner of Police Tabarak Fatima was caught on tape singing a coronavirus awareness song - "We shall sanitise, we shall sanitise" to the tune of the popular ditty "We shall overcome"- on a microphone."

In Belgaum, a city in Karnataka, police officer Dayananda Shegunasi painted "Corona Danger - Stay Away From Me" on a road.

Another viral video showed a team of masked police officers in Chhattisgarh offering "aarti" (a Hindu ritual where an oil lamp is offered to a deity) to people who were strolling on the streets.

Policeman Abhinav Upadhyay in Chhatisgarh also sang the soulful Lata Mangeshkar track "Ek Pyar ka Nagma hai" from the 1972 movie Shor with the lyrics tweaked to warn people about the spread of the infection.

The video of a policeman from Pune breaking into the tune of the chartbuster song from the Hindi film Lagaan went viral last Sunday.

With a portable sound system, Assistant Sub-Inspector Pramod Kalamkar of Dattawadi police station sang "Baar baar haan, bolo yaar haan" from the Aamir Khan starrer.

The video also shows his colleagues clapping and holding placards.

"Despite asking people not to go outdoors during the lockdown, people are doing so for petty reasons," said Senior Inspector Devidas Gheware. "To create awareness, Kalamkar wrote the lyrics and has been singing in areas in our police station's jurisdiction."

Policemen in Delhi have used kindness as a medium to convey the message. A video was shared on social media which showed a group of them offering flowers to motorists and urging them to go home and stay indoors.

In Punjab, a video shows policemen dancing to a bhangra tune while singing popular couplets. This is followed by a message from popular singer and actor Diljit Dosanjh on the need to quarantine non-resident Punjabis returning home from countries like Italy.

Yet another popular post from Punjab is about a policeman addressing women on how to restrain their men from leaving home and teaching them cooking skills.

Indo-Asian News Service