The Pune City Police on Monday issued orders prohibiting all vehicular traffic, except for essential and emergency services, from 6 pm on Monday till March 31. The order was issued after many people were observed on streets despite appeals to stay indoors.
Pune is among the districts with highest COVID-19 positive cases in the country. The Pune City Police, which had imposed a curfew in the city from 9 pm on Sunday till 5 am on Monday, had further issued orders prohibiting gathering of five or more people, except for essential and emergency services.
Senior police officials said despite of orders in place and repeated appeals, a large number of people were still moving on streets, even on Monday morning. Subsequently, in a notification issued on Monday afternoon, Pune City’s Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Ravindra Shisve said, “We have issued orders to prohibit any type of vehicle movement on the public roads and alleys in the Pune City Police jurisdiction from 6 pm on Monday till the midnight of March 31.” The order is also applicable on all vehicles, including bicycles, rickshaws, taxis and app based cab services.
The order is not applicable on vehicles being used for emergency services, transport of essential items or services, persons or agencies involved in health services, banking, fire brigade, power supply, telecommunication, water supply and infrastructure maintenance etc. Mediapersons travelling for work are also exempted from the vehicle restrictions.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced in a televised address to the state that a statewide curfew had been imposed. The following orders of the state lockdown issued by the Chief Secretary to Government of Maharashtra, allow the taxi and rickshaw with two and one person other than the driver respectively. Pune police officials, however, clarified that taxis and rickshaws will not be allowed. The statewide order also specifies that “plying of private vehicles shall be restricted only to the extent of procuring essential commodities and medical supplies”.
Following the order of sealing the district borders as part of statewide lockdown, the traffic on highways between Pune and Mumbai was also restricted only to emergency services and transport of essential goods. State Highway Police said the lockdown orders will be strictly implemented.
As many flout vehicular ban in city, police issue guidelines on dealing with violators
Monday saw several instances of friction between police officers and the residents of Pune as police personnel made attempts to first impose voluntary and later stringent traffic ban on the city streets. One incident in which a policeman was seen allegedly beating up bikers on the streets was captured on camera and went viral.
The Pune City Police, after imposing a complete curfew from 9 pm on Sunday night till 5 am Monday, had issued orders prohibiting people from gathering in five or more numbers in public places. In the morning hours on Monday, while there were no prohibitory orders in place, police teams were seen putting up barricades and stopping people.
Meanwhile, a video reportedly shot in Sinhagad Road area was circulated on social media platforms in which a policeman was seen beating bike-borne persons on the street with a baton.
When asked about the video, Pune City Joint Commissioner Ravindra Shisve said a probe will be conducted and action will be taken.
Even after the police issued a complete ban on vehicular traffic in the city, people were reported to have come on the roads forcing police to deploy more manpower to enforce the ban.
Later, a set of guidelines was issued to Pune police personnel which included, “We have to be polite but firm. Also be helpful to genuine issues of citizens. Exemptions be read very clearly and explained to our staff. No arguments. No raising of lathi in unnecessary situations.”
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