AMID RESTRICTIONS imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Punjab Police for the first time did a live broadcast of the bhog ceremony (prayer meet) of late Ludhiana ACP (North) Anil Kohli on its official Facebook page, Sunday.
The frontline officer had died battling the virus on April 18.
Not more than 20 people were allowed to be physically present at the ceremony, held at Nav Durga Mata Mandir in Ludhiana’s Sarabha Nagar. Attendees included Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta, Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Pradeep Agarwal and Ludhiana Police Commissioner Rakesh Agrawal apart from the late officer’s family members.
Following social distancing norms, the attendees were seated on the ground. “All were made to wear masks and plastic covers on their feet,” said ACP Sandeep Wadhera.
However, thousands of people paid tribute to the late officer while watching the Facebook live broadcast on the official page of Punjab Police from 1.30 pm to 2 pm. At least 600 people viewed the ceremony at a single time while the video in total crossed 42k views till this report was filed.
IPS Surendra Lamba, executive assistant-cum-staff officer to the DGP, and also the supervisor of the social media content, said it was the first time a personal ceremony was broadcast live on Facebook from Punjab Police’s official page. “We lost an officer who died battling coronavirus. Since the entire police force or even senior officers could not gather to pay their last respects at the prayer meet, we decided to broadcast it live,” he said.
During his address at the ceremony, DGP Gupta said, “We face criminals, gangsters, terrorists on daily basis but we had never imagined that we will lose a family member to coronavirus. We are proud of ACP Kohli who performed his duty with utmost dedication. We tried our best to save him but couldn’t. He died while saving people from this pandemic. I have come here to pay our tributes to him on behalf of entire Punjab Police family. We will take care of his family like our own.”
Paras Kohli, son of the late officer, said to The Indian Express, “We are grateful to Punjab Police for the live broadcast. Thousands watched the broadcast and left their comments.”
Speaking to The Indian Express, DGP Gupta said, “All SSPs, CPs and other officers wanted to come personally but it wasn’t possible for them to attend prayer meeting because of restrictions. We also wanted that common people should join and there should be a platform so that they can pay their respects online.”
Speaking about Kohli’s family, he said, “They have requested that they be allowed to stay put at the official residence…Considering it as a special case, we will approve it.”
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