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Adding a tinge of humour to lockdown: how Pune Police is using Twitter to spread Covid awareness

From sharing stories of funny excuses given by people to bypass lockdown norms to spreading awareness about Covid-appropriate behaviour, Pune Police have been using the micro-blogging site to engage with the people of the city.

Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune |
April 25, 2021 2:10:33 pm
Pune Police check vehicles plying on the Chhatrapati Shivaji road. (Express Photo: Ashish Kale)

Pune Police have been using Twitter the way it should be: spreading awareness about Covid-appropriate behaviour while sharing stories recognizing the efforts of the men and women in uniform who have been working round the clock to enforce the current lockdown.

The city police have been running a series on the micro-blogging site sharing excuses that people often give — like “I am going to feed the pigeons”, or “I have to eat my pizza now” — when caught stepping out during the lockdown. They also share pictures of candid moments of police personnel during their hectic duties.

With Pune and surrounding areas reporting a major chunk of Maharashtra’s cases, cops here always stand the risk of contracting the virus. However, they continue turning up for their duties to help people get through these difficult times.

In addition to the conventional ways of enforcement, Pune police officials said they focus on engaging with people through social media platforms, mainly Twitter, to appeal to citizens to adhere to Covid norms and avoid leaving their homes except in cases of emergency.

Their latest endeavour on Twitter is a series on excuses given by people to justify going out during lockdown hours. They have prepared a video where cops recite the excuses given to them.

The tweet reads, “Excuses, excuses, excuses — where do you draw the line Punekars? Between imagination and safety?”

The reasons as told to the cops include “I am going to feed my pigeons”, “I am heading to the shop to return the milk I had purchased”, “going to the bank to deposit cash” despite it being a Sunday.

In the video, the police official says, “We don’t know whether to cry or laugh at such reasons.”

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The reasons get funnier: “I am going to the hospital” when the man is clearly dressed up to go for a wedding, “let me go, I have to eat a pizza”, “prove that Covid-19 affects only after 6 pm and then take action against me” and “girlfriend is not picking up my call so going to meet her”.

In addition to this series, Pune Police have also started a picture gallery called “Through the Barricade — A slice of life” which captures moments through road barricades which have symbolic to lockdowns. They also run a “Good Morning Pune” campaign, sharing pictures of police personnel on duty in the early hours of the day.

Speaking about the innovations on social media, Pune City Police commissioner Amitabh Gupta said, “The effort is to recognise the work that these men and women are doing to protect the citizens. Also, we try to create awareness via these campaigns. We are incorporating videos, photos, humour and puzzles to engage with the people. But the ultimate message in each one of these tweets is urging people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.”

Another series of photo-stories titled “Acts of Kindness” captures the moments of people taking care of each other and helping them out in these trying times.

“The effort is capture moments of positivity and kindness. We will be coming up with more such stories capturing our own efforts and how Pune is dealing with the pandemic,” Gupta added.

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