FIVE CONSTABLES posted on duty along with Ludhiana ACP (North) Anil Kohli were allegedly thrown out by ‘VIP residents’ of Officer’s Colony on the night of April 13, after the ACP tested positive. With no option left, they went to their native villages where one of them tested positive on Friday, while the remaining four tested negative.
These constables — four gunmen and a PSO — used to live in rooms at the ACP’s residence and had been told to stay in home quarantine.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the gunman, who tested positive at his native village in Ferozepur district on Friday said he and his colleagues were thrown out of their rooms at a time when their test reports were awaited and they had been advised to self-quarantine.
Now admitted in Ferozepur Civil Hospital, he said, “We never wanted to come back to our native villages and put our families at risk, but a policeman from Division no. 8 police station came to our quarters and told us to leave immediately even as our sir (ACP) was admitted in hospital. His family needed our help. Soon, a judge and other VIPs who also live in same colony also joined and asked us to leave. We were treated like untouchables. We had no option but to leave.”
He further said, “At around 10 pm, we picked up our Alto vehicle and left. Two of my colleagues went to their villages in Moga and Sangrur while I came to my village in Ferozepur. Next day, the fourth gunmen left for his native village in Jagraon and the PSO went to Khanna. No senior officer intervened to let us stay in our quarters.”
The constable is now Ferozepur district’s first case of coronavirus. His wife, aged parents and one-year-old son have also been home quarantined.
On Friday, the Ludhiana Police, called back two of the constables. “Two of them from Moga and Jagraon have now been put up in hotel rooms in Ludhiana. Though they have tested negative, they have been kept in quarantine. Two others are still at their homes in Sangrur and Khanna,” he said.
When contacted, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said, “I spoke to Ludhiana police commissioner and he said the constables were sent home in a proper manner for home quarantine after their samples were taken. There is no need of any inquiry. They are safe where they are.”
Three direct contacts of ACP test positive
On Friday, three direct contacts of Ludhiana city police ACP (North) tested positive. These include his wife, a 27-year-old sub-inspector (posted as SHO, Basti Jodhewal police station) and a 27-year-old constable (posted as ACP’s gunman and a native of Ferozepur).
On April 13, Ludhiana ACP (North) Anil Kohli, 52, had tested positive for coronavirus. He had been admitted in SPS Hospital since April 8. A frontline officer, he was on marathon duty at Ludhiana’s busiest and crowded wholesale sabzi mandi during the curfew. It is suspected that he got infected at the sabzi mandi. Ludhiana Civil Surgeon Dr Rajesh Bagga said, “The ACP’s source of infection is still not clear.”
Additional DCP Sachin Gupta, nodal officer for COVID-19, Ludhiana city Police, said to The Indian Express that all three contacts of the ACP are doing fine. “They were home quarantined since the ACP had tested positive. The ACP’s gunman and the ACP’s wife are asymptomatic.”
He added that of 26 test reports of ACP’s contacts received till now, three have tested positive and rest are negative.
ACP on ventilator
Meanwhile, Dr Rajiv Kundra, medical superintendent (MS), SPS Hospital, said the ACP is still on ventilator. “He is stable but there is no significant improvement in his condition,” said Dr Kundra.
Sources said that the Basti Jodhewal SHO, who tested positive, had held several meetings, distributed grocery in slums and was on full-fledged duty before being quarantined. “Her contact tracing is in progress,” said the ADCP.
District mandi officer tests positive
A district mandi officer (DMO) in Ludhiana tested positive. She had attended several meetings with the ACP (North) and the Basti Jodhewal SHO (both of whom have since tested positive).
The DMO’s report came back Friday evening. Her daughter, who is a block development program officer posted in the same district, said, “After the ACP North’s test report came positive, my mother too got her test done as a precautionary measure. My brother stays with her and he is also isolated.”
The DMO had also conducted a few meetings related to procurement before April 15 in Ludhiana, hence contact tracing is being done. The DMO is responsible for the entire procurement drive of Ludhiana. There are 221 mandis where 8.5 lakh metric tonnes of wheat is expected to arrive this season.
Ravi Bhagat, secretary, Punjab Mandi Board, said, “Employees who came in contact with her will be quarantined. The procurement operation will go on following all necessary precautions.”
Mobile clinics for police
To protect police personnel battling the COVID-19 crisis on the frontline, the Punjab Police has deployed mobile clinics in all seven police ranges and police commissionerates for their medical examination. Of the total 43,000 police officers on ground, 30,567 have already given one round of a thorough check-up, Punjab DGP Dinkar Gupta said on Friday.
In some districts, help is being taken from the civil hospital doctors also to get police personnel, especially on duty at naka points, checked for symptoms.
All personnel will be checked repeatedly, every second day. While all police personnel on duty to enforce the lockdown have been provided with masks, gloves and hand sanitisers, those deployed at the hospital isolation wards or in the vicinity are provided with PPEs/biohazard suits, said the DGP. (Inputs from Raakhi Jagga)
Punjab tally now 214
The COVID-19 tally in Punjab reached 214 on Friday as 17 new cases surfaced, while the death toll touched 15 as a revenue official who had tested positive the previous day, passed away in Ludhiana.
While five cases were reported from Patiala, seven cases were diagnosed in Jalandhar and four in Ludhiana, while Ferozepur recorded its first case. In Jalandhar, among the new cases are four children — a one-year-old boy, two eight-year-old girls, and a nine-year-old girl. The district now has 38 cases.
A 58-year-old Kanungo (revenue official) who was posted in Payal sub-division of Ludhiana and was living in Koomkalan area died on Friday. He had been unwell since April 10 and was admitted in DMCH since April 14. He died Friday afternoon due to heart failure, said Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Pardeep Aggarwal. His immediate contacts — his parents, his mother-in-law, wife, a son and a daughter — have been quarantined and their samples have also been taken. Contact tracing is being done.
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