ITANAGAR, Mar 26: Reports of harassment by security personnel on duty have been received from various quarters.
One man claimed that he was stopped by the security personnel posted near the civil secretariat here on Wednesday despite his producing a medical prescription.
“I informed the security there that I was heading to the hospital to seek advice for my sister-in-law, who is around five months pregnant and was having some issues. She could not sit on the scooter as it was hurting her belly, so I set out alone. Despite providing the prescription, they asked me in a mocking fashion whether I was pregnant,” the man said.
A video is also in circulation, showing a man in camouflage half-pants beating up three men with a stick as another man in full uniform looks on. The one using the stick can be heard making references to travelling from Arunachal to Assam during the lockdown.
In the meantime, the Arunachal Press Club (APC) has written to Capital Complex Deputy Commissioner Komkar Dulom to ensure the operational continuity of the print and electronic media in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The press club reported instances of personnel guarding the barricades preventing journalists from carrying out their duties even after the journalists showed their identity cards.
“The APC understands that the administration and the security personnel are under immense pressure to ensure that the public heeds the lockdown direction. However, you must realize that the media persons too are carrying out their responsibilities under enormous pressure, and must be allowed to do their work without any hindrance.
“The press – like the administration, the police, and the doctors – is an utmost essential service, and it aims to ensure timely and authentic information dissemination in our collective fight in the prevention of Covid-19 outbreak,” the APC said.
Stating that proper functioning of the media houses is required not only to create awareness among the people and relay important messages but also to keep the state updated of the latest status, the APC requested that the administration ensure hassle-free movement of journalists and vehicles carrying media persons.
Speaking to reporters regarding the alleged harassment, Additional District Magistrate Talo Potom said that “the police have to be strict with people who are not adhering to the rules of the lockdown.”
Potom, who has been tasked with looking after the overall maintenance of law and order in the capital region, was responding to questions on the reported instances of harassment meted out to citizens.
“Some people are making excuses, so the police have to be strict. Those who are genuinely out for work, medical needs or groceries should try and understand and cooperate with the police,” he said.
Commending those who are in their homes, he requested others to cooperate in the lockdown, saying “the health sector in India does not have the capacity to tackle the pandemic if it gets out of hand.”
“The lockdown could be extended up to two-three months if we do not maintain the guidelines,” he claimed.
Potom also requested the government to accord top priority to supply of essential commodities and medical facilities. He requested vendors not to take advantage of the situation, and warned of strict action against those who are found raising prices without reason.