Chennai: As the 21-day lockdown (curfew) for maintaining social distancing by staying indoors and to tackle the spread of coronavirus is on in the country, Tamilnadu police resort to award novel punishments to desist those venturing out of their homes.
As the number of people freaking out has seen an increase since yesterday, police, instead of using lathis, apart from imposing fines, started awarding punishments like asking them to put ‘Thoppukaranam’ (squat and stand by
holding both the ears), perform angapradhakshanam (like devotees do in temples) crawling like frogs, taking a pledge to remain indoors to protect themselves and their family till 14 April , besides appealing to them with
folded hands to follow the curfew rules in letter and spirit to avoid contracting the deadly virus, which has snuffed out the lives of more than 20,000 people globally.
The police have also started seizing the two-wheelers and 30 such cases were reported near Tirupattur in Vaaniyambadi, while warning a group of roamers in two wheelers of being arrested ar Hosur in Krishnagiri district. Chennai City Police Commissioner AK Viswanathan also warned of seizing vehicles of those roaming in the streets in violation of curfew.
Such incidents were reported in several parts of the State including Chennai, Cuddalore, Vellore, Salem, Madurai, Thenkasi and other places. A group of youths in Cuddalore, who assembled and played cricket in violation of prohibitory orders, which were clamped across the State, were awarded Thoppukaranam punishment, by maintaining the 3 ft social distancing norms.
These novel punishments comes in the backdrop of reports and videos in social media that some police were using harsh methods, including beating newspaper suppliers and a doctor in the city and in other districts to
prevent them from roaming in the streets.
In Chennai, a traffic policeman, posted in Spencer’s signal on the arterial Anna Salai, was seen appealing to the motorists and others with folded hands to stay indoors and not to venture out of their house, and one of the youth responding to it by prostrating before him, the video of which went viral in the social media.