Guwahati: Talk about police amid the COVID-19 crisis in India and the first image that comes to one’s mind is that of the ‘men in khaki’ wielding the lathi to strictly enforce the lockdown. However, some police officers in Assam’s Charaideo district are winning hearts for displaying their human side during these difficult times.
So, while on one hand, the district police has been following the standard protocols for enforcing the lockdown, on the other, the unit has been reaching out to the people who are in need of medical assistance or have run out of essential commodities. The lockdown has been specifically brutal to a few sections of society — the destitute people and the senior citizens who stay alone. Another section are the ones who require medicines but are unable to procure them themselves.
To mitigate these problems, the Charaideo police launched ‘Project Good Samaritan’ and came up with two schemes. While the first, ‘Food for all – Langar’, aims at the destitute people and daily-wage earners, the second one deals with free delivery of emergency and life-saving medicines to the needy people.
“It started as a personal venture, as I helped two or three people nearby during the lockdown,” said Charaideo SP Anand Misra, the brains behind the initiative, adding, “However, due to word of mouth, the news spread that ‘SP sir’ is helping anyone in need and so I thought why not.”
Misra knew that this could never be achieved alone, so he took the help of some of the able police officers of the district such as Sonari SDPO Tridip Kumbang and Additional SP (HQ) Mrinal Deka, and got it executed by DSP (HQ) Puskal Gogoi, to name a few. Meanwhile, the entire district police of Charaideo rallied behind to make the initiative successful.
Since Misra has his own YouTube channel called ‘Patroller Cop’ and is already quite popular among the youths of the district, the initiative gained further momentum. Many came out voluntarily, including paramedics, pharmacists and even common people who have been at home due to the lockdown. “The support was so immense that we thought it would be better if we plan out everything properly,” Misra said.
By pooling in money from their salaries and with the manpower of the masses, the two schemes finally took off.
The department’s ‘free delivery of medicines’ has been particularly lauded. Under this initiative, medicines which are otherwise unavailable in the district are procured from outside including Tinsukia, Dibrugarh or Sivasagar, and delivered at the patient’s doorstep. This project operates through several volunteers, be it off-duty policemen, civil society organisations, para-medics or pharmacists — all coordinated through the Police Control Room (9678921813) available round the clock and supervised by SDPO Tridip Kumbang.
The ‘food for all’ service, on the other hand, focuses on the people who survive off the streets and daily-wage earners. This service looks to provide them at least one hot meal a day during the lockdown but is also gearing up to cater to anyone who is hungry anytime of the day. The service is initiated primarily through personal contributions of district police officials and supported by government servants, banks, institutions and members of public who have enlisted for the programme on allotted dates.
Although the food service started centrally at Sonari Police Station complex, it is now being followed by all police stations in the district. “Also, once the ‘langar’ service is over, we take the leftover food in our patrol car and distribute it to anyone who needs it,” added Misra.
“At least one good thing came out of the COVID-19 lockdown,” says Misra. “And it is that my faith in humanity has been further strengthened on seeing people coming out and helping us, working together and rendering their service to the needy people,” he added.