Lockdown Day 1: 388 vehicles seized
Mysore/Mysuru: The State Government clamped a total lockdown till May 24 to contain the massive spread of COVID-19 across the State from May 10 (yesterday). The order said people are allowed to step out only to buy essential things between 6 am and 10 am.
The first day of the lockdown, however, witnessed chaotic scenes in Mysuru where the Police tried to enforce rules without applying discretion leading to widespread criticism. Over enthusiastic Police were seen caning people and seizing vehicles and a total of 388 vehicles — 375 two-wheelers, 7 auto rickshaws and 6 cars — were seized. Vehicles will only be returned after the owners approach the individual Police Stations. If the owners repeat the violation, FIRs will be booked and the owners have to get their vehicles released from the Court, said the Police.
The lockdown guidelines banning the use of vehicles caused immense hardships to the people. Complaints of Police highhandedness against civilians reached Vidhana Soudha and the Government was taken to task by Opposition and by people who vented their anger on social media platforms.
This forced Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG-IGP) Praveen Sood to issue a clarification that people wishing to buy essentials of daily needs and food products can move around in vehicles.
Clarifying the issue, Sood tweeted around 7 pm yesterday, stating: “To buy groceries, vegetables and daily needs there is NO BAR for using vehicle to your neighbourhood shop in cities or nearest availability point in rural areas. Use this facility with discretion and not as a license for free run every day. Stay at home for your own safety.”
During the vehicle seizing drive in city, the Police also collected a total penalty of Rs. 33,200 from those who were found not wearing face masks, not maintaining social distancing and violating lockdown guidelines. Also, 173 cases were registered.
The Police have also sought permission from the Court to take action against the owners of fast food joints for not following the COVID guidelines. Devaraja Traffic Inspector Muniyappa told Star of Mysore that the Police were seizing vehicles that are found moving around unnecessarily and fines are being levied on vehicle owners.
He said that purchases can be made from 6 am to 10 am and residents have to go on foot to shops within 2 kms of their house. One cannot move from one area to another on vehicles in the guise of making purchases.
Only people with medical emergencies, people going to vaccination centres, RT-PCR tests etc. are allowed to go in their vehicles. Others caught moving around should give a valid explanation and reason. The Police, after analysing the reasons, will take a decision whether to let them go or penalise them, the Inspector said.
“As too many vehicles are caught, it is not possible to collect fines on-the-spot and let them go. So we take the vehicles to the Police Station, where we warn the erring motorists, collect fine and release the vehicle,” Muniyappa added.
“If everyone starts giving reasons and we allow everyone to move around, what is the use of imposing the lockdown? Purchase of essential items should be made from nearby shops. If the item is available near your house, why should you go to Devaraja Market to purchase that? Have some responsibility and restrict your movement till the COVID cases come down,” the Inspector said.