The Unsung Covid-19 Heroes
When the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak began last year fear gripped the whole world, forcing many to go indoors even as life came to a standstill after lockdown was imposed. But police personnel continued to be on the streets to ensure that public follow lockdown norms that were framed to flatten the spiralling Covid-19 graph. They had to get out of the fear of contracting the virus and perform their duties, be it checking the movement of people and vehicles during the lockdown period or when people started heading home in large numbers by train, flights and even on foot after inter-state travel restriction was relaxed. They were clearly unprepared like everyone and without proper protective gears. In the midst of the chaos, they were often at the receiving end whenever there was disagreement with citizens or government officials. There could be some cases of high-handedness from some police personnel but their sacrifice outweighs the failures. They have been exposed to high risk of being abused by defaulters or contracting the disease while performing their extraordinary duty during this extraordinary time and it continues as second wave has hit the nation even harder. Hundreds of uniformed personnel have lost their lives to the pandemic and the rest continue to man the streets, hospitals, Covid care centres and places that most people would fear to tread. If healthcare workers like doctors, nurses and others are in the forefront of this battle against the dreaded disease, police personnel are next in line sans PPE. Some stray altercations might have happened between these groups of frontline workers – healthcare workers and police personnel — during the course of the fight but they are waging a war against a common enemy and the safety of humankind. They deserve all the appreciations in the world.
Police personnel are no doubt the unsung heroes in the fight against this ongoing pandemic, going beyond the call of duty to save lives without looking at religion, caste, creed or colour. They have been everywhere, especially during the second wave – from supplying oxygen cylinders to patients gasping for air, donating blood, carrying patients on their backs to hospitals, arranging ambulances, attending to patients lying on the streets and pavements, to cremating the dead. Some of their deeds made it to the newspapers but the stories of the rest are not yet covered. The uniformed personnel have for long been in the bad books of the public for all the wrong reasons- they are often seen as corrupt, lethargic and indifferent towards distress of public. But their compassionate response during the pandemic would not only result in image makeover but also has sent out the message to the world that community engagement can pull the humanity out of any crisis. The compassion and courage they showed when fear and confusion were engulfing the entire nation was commendable. They should imbibe these virtues even after the Covid-19 pandemic ends.