While the state government has announced a solatium of Rs 50 lakh for the families of police personnel who succumb to the coronavirus while on duty, several policemen say they have stopped going back home after duty fearing they might pass on the infection to their families.
So far, eight Mumbai Police officers have lost their lives to the disease.
A 43-year-old police constable, who lost his 78-year-old mother to Covid-19, said he had developed a fever on May 4, but had continued to go to work, thinking it was not serious.
“My temperature kept fluctuating. So, I did not go for a check-up. However, when my mother got a fever, I thought that something was wrong, so we went for a check-up two days later,” he said. Their swabs were collected by a private laboratory and the next day both tested positive. The mother and son, residents of Dadar police line, were admitted to Seven Hills hospital, Andheri immediately. But two days later, while the policeman was still undergoing treatment, he was informed that his mother had died. His brother, also a constable with the Mumbai Police, completed the final rites. “I don’t think I will be able to forgive myself,” the 43-year-old policeman lamented.
In another instance, the 49-year-old wife of a policeman, posted in Navi Mumbai, died at Kalwa hospital on April 25 after testing positive for the virus. The woman, a resident of Lokmanya Nagar, apparently had contracted the infection from her husband, who was also on duty.
On Saturday, a 57-year-old police sub-inspector posted at the Protection and Security branch of Mumbai Police, along with his wife and two children, also tested positive.
The PSI was on duty and his family is most likely to have contracted the infection from him, said an officer.
With Covid-19 cases among policemen steadily on the rise, several have started staying at hotels after duty. “It would be great if the government comes out with some accommodation for us. At least they should come out with some provision to drop our family members to our native place,” an officer said.
Across Maharashtra, 1,140 police personnel have tested Covid-19 positive till Saturday, of whom 949 belong to the rank of constable.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines