Are cops able to spend time with their families?

Chennai: The lockdown has brought families together. Most families are enjoying quality time playing indoor games and doing household chores together. On the other hand, a heart-wrenching video on social media showed a small boy crying and holding his father, a policeman, who was ready to leave for work.

The boy was crying as he was scared that his father was going out during coronavirus pandemic. “Dad, don’t go out. Coronavirus is there”, cried the three-year-old.

Amid such fears and worrying families, the police personnel report for duty everyday. Nothing much has changed to their work timings. In fact, their families are sending them to duty with much fear these days.
Most of them come back home, wash their khakhi uniform in hot water, take a shower and then sit down with their families.

Antony is a writer at Madipakkam police station. As soon as the Janta Curfew was announced, he knew that things were getting serious. A resident of Pallikaranai, he sent his wife and three-year-old daughter to be with his brother’s family for safety.

“I report for work at 7 am, the shift should be over by 2 pm. But on most days we report back by 5 pm and wind up at 9 pm. Since my child is very small I did not want to take any risks.” However, everyday after duty, he takes a shower and goes to meet them.’

Rajaram, a Sub-Inspector at Virugambakkam, has two children, one is 12 and the other 14. He had recently disconnected the television connection at home so that the children would focus more on studies. But he regrets the decision now.

The children are indoors these days with his parents. His wife is a Sub-Inspector at Economic Offences Wing, Guindy. Rajaram carries out vehicle checks from 7 am to 1 pm. From 2 pm to 10 pm, he has to file violations and patrol his area. His wife has duty from 10 am to 5 pm.

“I had brought them a few boardgames recently, including chess and carroms. The children hopefully are keeping themselves occupied. It is difficult when both parents are in the field during such a time. At the same time, we are fully aware that we can’t stay away from work at this time.”

Sathya, a Sub-Inspector at Egmore police station, says what aggravates the situation are the WhatsApp messages.
“Policemen take adequate precautions. I make sure not to touch anyone. But my family is scared for me. They hear rumours and call out of fear. I console them.”

Inspector, Teynampet, Vijaykumar was at the covid -9 helpline centre this morning for duty. The centre at DMS has doctors and health officials attending calls from frantic people. “One of my sons is in Canada, another son is here with me and my wife. Every now and then I get calls from them reminding me to wash my hands and to be very careful. They are naturally worried,” he says.


Naomi N