The mask of Krishna Keyer, a 35-year-old auto rickshaw driver, had slipped down his nose when he was on way to meet his ailing father in a hospital.
An incident of appalling cruelty in Madhya Pradesh has taken place following the Central and state governments’ order to enforce safety measures for Covid. A man in Indore was severely beaten up by two policemen, allegedly for his failure to wear a mask properly.
The mask of Krishna Keyer, a 35-year-old auto rickshaw driver, had slipped down his nose when he was on way to meet his ailing father in a hospital. Noticing this, two policemen caught him on the road and demanded that he come to the police station. When he refused, they started beating him up.
A cellphone video taken by a bystander shows them kicking and punching the man mercilessly as he lay on the ground, vainly trying to shield himself. His young son, who was accompanying him, kept screaming for help.
The assault took place in the middle of a road in broad daylight, but while the bystanders stopped and clicked photos, no one came to help him.
Though the policemen — Kamal Prajapat and Dharmendra Jat — were identified, no action was taken. Only after the video was circulated widely, they were suspended and sent to the Police Lines.
Over the last weeks, there have been several reports of policemen in parts of the country handing out corporal punishment on the roads when people were found without a mask. Videos circulated on WhatsApp showed that they were penalised even when they had stopped to eat or drink.
On March 30, the health ministry said the states are being told to enforce Covid-appropriate behaviour — “Use the law, use fine… people need to wear a mask,” said aid VK Paul, chairman of the National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration.
The order from Centre came as Covid numbers have exploded in the country, with 10 states accounting for a 90-plus per cent rise in cases.
After a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the officials on Monday, his office said the sharper rise in cases could be mainly attributed to the severe laxity in maintaining Covid-appropriate behaviour – especially the use of masks and social distancing.
Madhya Pradesh is one of the states where numbers are on the rise. Over the last 24 hours there have been 3,722 fresh cases and 18 fatalities. Since March, 1,61,000 people have been fined for not wearing masks, the amount collected from them amounts to 1.85 crore.