A senior police inspector from Koradi police station is under the spotlight for punishing people “unnecessarily wandering” on the street by making them sit in the scorching sun. The officer, Wazir Sheikh, took the action at his own level by chalking out rounds at an intersection and making people found “pointlessly loitering” on the streets sit for six hours under the scorching Nagpur sun, in what he calls a “detention camp”.
“Don’t call it punishment. It’s a sunbath to disinfect them. People have no seriousness and awareness about coronavirus threat. So, we make them sit in those rounds in the detention camp chalked out on the street as per social distancing norms and enlighten them (prabodhan). We have also made then perform yoga today. We will have different themes on different days,” Sheikh told
Nagpur’s maximum temperature on Tuesday was 37.8 degrees Celsius.
Sheikh has also released a video of his “detention camp” on social media, which he feels could act as a deterrent. “We have so far taken this action against 59 persons. Besides, we have also fined their vehicles,” Sheikh said.
Asked if everyone found moving without a valid reason is detained, Sheikh said: “No. People above 50 and anyone apparently unfit to take it is spared.” Asked what if anyone gets a sunstroke instead of sunbath, Sheikh said, “We give them water, food, lassi, buttermilk, etc to rule this out.”
On whether only bike-riders are subjected to ”sunbath”, Sheikh said, “mostly yes. But we have detained some car passengers too. But nobody would generally take out his car for flimsy reasons.”
Joint Commissioner of Police Ravindra Kadam admitted that Sheikh hadn’t consulted them before initiating the action. “Our officers are at their wits’ end trying to dissuade people from venturing out but that doesn’t always work. So they decide their own strategies,” he said. Asked if he agreed with Sheikh’s method, Kadam said, “we have discouraged him from doing it.”
Sheikh, however, said, “We will continue the sunbath programme further. We will do it with different themes every day.” Asked why he didn’t opt for the regular impounding of vehicles to deter people, he said, “it requires a lot of manpower and later a lot of legal work.”
The officer, however, is confident that this would deter others from the misadventure of coming out on the streets.
“We will have to do it in novel ways since other methods are not paying off. Now, just think why you called. It’s because what we are doing is different, isn’t it? People will get the sense of the matter after feeling the heat,” he says.