A group of Kolkata Police’s elite combat force allegedly attacked a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) rank officer during a protest in Kolkata on Tuesday night, demanding safeguards against the novel coronavirus.
No one had been booked and an inquiry ordered, said an officer from Kolkata Police. “An investigation is underway. There can be disappointment among the policemen regarding the duty schedule, but no acts of indiscipline will not be tolerated…,” he said.
The situation was brought under control after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met the protesting policemen and sounded them out.
The immediate trigger for the protest was authorities’ negligence towards sanitising their quarters after a sub-inspector tested positive for Covid-19. Later, three more from the same premises were infected with the virus.
The combat force became angrier when they were given duty roster for coronavirus and cyclone Amphan on Tuesday night. A group of 500 combat force personnel started agitating in front of the Police Training School (PTS).
Hearing the commotion, DCP N S Paul, who lives on the PTS premises with his family, came out to pacify the protesters. But he was chased with baton-wielding protesters and attacked. He was rescued by other senior officers and admitted to a hospital, said another officer of Kolkata Police.
The protesters complained that they did not have enough masks and PPE kits despite being deployed in containment zones, and had been working for 57 days at a stretch. Lack of standard food in the canteen was another source of despair for them.
“After a sub-inspector tested positive for Covid-19, the quarters he used to live in with us were not sanitised. A few days later, three more tested positive and no step was taken to sanitise the premises. We don’t know how many of us are already infected,” said a constable of the combat force, who was among the agitators.
The combat force was more frayed due to the dual responsibility of novel coronavirus and evacuation of people from cyclone Amphan affected areas.
After learning about the protest, CM Banerjee visited PTS and directed the Kolkata Municipal Corporation to sanitise the quarters.
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