‘Covid targets the mind more than body, can’t wait to be back on duty’

Basti Jodhewal police station’s young SHO speaks about looking past the stigma attached to Covid-19, her last meeting with late ACP Kohli

SHO of Ludhiana’s Basti Jodhewal police station Arshpreet Kaur Grewal (27) with ACP Anil Kohli (File)

SHE GOT infected while on lockdown duty at Ludhiana city’s overcrowded Sabzi Mandi and her reporting head, Ludhiana ACP (north) Anil Kohli, with whom she had worked for over eight months, died of COVID-19.

Serving as the station house officer (SHO) of Ludhiana’s Basti Jodhewal police station since August last year, Arshpreet Kaur Grewal (27) is now battling the coronavirus in isolation at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), where she has been admitted since April 17.

Recently, she tested negative but her second confirmatory test returned positive. But the officer, daughter of a retired assistant sub inspector (ASI) who also served Punjab Police, is not disheartened and says she will back on duty very soon after she makes a full recovery.

Grewal, who joined Punjab Police in January 2015, however admits that after testing positive on April 17, her initial reaction was that of fear. “Since ACP sir was already hospitalised, we were very scared. I had no symptoms, but on April 11 morning when I got up to get ready for duty, I was feeling very tired and weak. I thought it due to the long duty hours and decided to take a day off. But on April 13, ACP sir tested positive and we were told to quarantine ourselves. On April 17, I tested positive. When the ambulance came to take me, my first thought was, maybe I won’t return home. But since then, I never had any harsh symptoms except mild cough…Fears multiplied after ACP sir died and I was mentally prepared for the worst. ACP sir’s death was a huge loss…I was also scared for my old parents…,” she said.

Nearly 20 days after being admitted at DMCH and living in isolation, the officer now feels that coronavirus is more of a psychological fear. “Even when I feel some trouble in throat or while breathing, I remind myself that I am feeling so because I know I am positive and I feel better in the next few minutes. Things happen and if I got infected in line of duty, it is nobody’s fault…”

Remembering ACP Kohli

Grewal last met ACP Kohli on April 3. “He was always very positive and would keep motivating us. We first had a meeting and later went to seal an area where a suspected coronavirus patient had died. He would always be very hopeful of things going back to normal again. He would tell us that just a few more days of extra work and then life will be back to normal. That day also he wasn’t keeping very well. I did not meet him after that day,” she said.

Passing time

The officer is now spending her time in isolation by doing yoga, making video calls to her friends and family, playing online ludo, reading novels and watching movies. “My police colleagues and friends keep calling me. Commissioner sir has arranged a yoga instructor for us for online classes. I read books. I have never been hospitalised my entire life. I want to join duty as soon as I am allowed,” she said, laughing.

She further said, “I am prepared for everything that lies ahead, for life after COVID-19. I have no regrets whatsoever that I got infected because I gave my 100 per cent on duty. It can happen to anyone. The word coronavirus is scaring us but we can defeat it.”

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