No curfew for the few


Policing has not been easy in Bengaluru since the imposition of the night curfew, especially in the backdrop of the gruesome car accident involving the son of the Hosur MLA and six others, including three women, killed in Koramangala in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Questions arise as to what the police are doing to check violators of the night curfew and stop unnecessary movement of people and vehicles during nights.

It appears as though some citizens are not at all serious about the pandemic or the night curfew. Lower rung police personnel say they find it difficult to enforce the curfew as citizens cite various reasons and excuses with proofs at hand.

A policeman at the Koramangala station told BM that when he questioned a bike-borne man where he was heading during the night curfew, the person in question produced a few days old doctor’s prescription and claimed he was going to fetch medication for his ailing parents.

City police personnel claim they are being reasonable with citizens who move about in the night and advise them not to venture out unnecessarily. “Most people who are out and about are those who work night shifts and commute from homes to offices and back, and drive around for essential services including delivery personnel,” a senior officer said.

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An assistant police inspector (ASI) from the east division said he stopped a car during the night curfew and found the vehicle had five occupants. They looked like friends going out or heading back from somewhere. Soon after he questioned them, the youth at the wheel claimed his friend had a severe headache and they were taking him to a hospital. The cop had no other option than to allow them to continue their journey.

Now, how does one authenticate such cases post pandemic – the police are asking.

“Taking advantage of leniencies and goodwill of the cops, certain elements venture out for joyrides, partying in vehicles and speeding for thrill especially in the night when they know there is the night curfew/lockdown on and there would be no traffic. They think they own the entire road,” said a senior police officer.

BR Ravikanthe Gowda, joint commissioner of police (traffic) told Bangalore Mirror that the BTP had booked 27 cases involving high-end cars and bikes, for over-speeding during night time last week.

“Though our men are not physically present at the scene, it doesn’t mean we are not watching the roads. Every night, staff on duty at the Traffic Management Centre

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(TMC) are recording and documenting violations with the help of cameras installed at important junctions in the city, booking offenders. The TMC books hundreds of cases of vehicles that jump signals, riding without helmets, over-speeding and other visible violations every night. We have limited emergency staff posted at traffic stations at night who would be first responders at accident sites and other traffic related incidents, but no contact enforcement happens at night. In case of grave offences, vehicles are impounded and charge-sheets are submitted to the court,” said Gowda.

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City police commissioner Kamal Pant told BM that the intent of the curfew is to stop commercial activities from 9 pm until 5 am and that it is perfectly enforced.

According to Pant, police cannot stop the movement of public during the night with an iron fist as essential services are allowed and if people are moving for genuine reasons, police have to allow them as there could be travellers going out of the city and coming in.

“There is no question of no enforcement or absence of police on the streets during curfews/lockdowns. Indeed, during the night of the accident, our men spotted the car not once but twice in Koramangala and had advised the individuals concerned to get back home. They said they were heading to their house in Koramangala,” explained Pant.

“That night, there were two DCPs on rounds including Southeast division DCP Srinath Joshi who visited the spot soon after the incident,” Pant added.

During the night of the accident, our men spotted the car not once but twice in Koramangala and suggested they get back home. There were two DCPs on rounds including Southeast division DCP Srinath Joshi who visited the spot soon after.

— Kamal Pant, Commissioner of Police, Bengaluru

Bengaluru city police have been on lockdown/curfew enforcement duty for the past one and half years.

“The intensity has certainly come down as we are dealing with human beings amidst a pandemic. Of course, the pressure on performing other duties such as crime detection, bandobast, security for VIP/VVIP and their movements, etc. have to be managed by cops while on night curfew enforcement duty. The pressure is tremendous,” an ADGP-level officer told BM.



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Sagar Biswas

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