Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has made news for his stern warning to all Philippine nationals taking the country’s month-long lockdown lightly, and venturing out of their homes for flimsy reasons. He gave the country’s police and military shoot at sight powers if they deem that the orders are not being followed and that health workers are being attacked.
“Let this be a warning to all. Follow the government at this time because it is critical that we have order,” he said in a late-night address on Wednesday. He further added, “And do not harm the health workers, the doctors … because that is a serious crime. My orders to the police and the military, if anyone creates trouble, and their lives are in danger: shoot them dead…Do not intimidate the government. Do not challenge the government. You will lose.”
He also said, “Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you.”
Duterte’s strict orders came after residents of a slum in Manila’s Quezon city staged a protest, claiming that they had not received food packets and other relief supplies for the past two weeks, eversince the lockdown was promulgated. Over 96 people have died due to the Chinese virus in the Philippines.
The Philippines President is known for his unflinching and violent fight against drugs in the Philippines. In 2016-2017, he okay-ed the extrajudicial killings and encounters of thousands of drug dealers. Needless to say, Human Rights groups have had a beef with the man ever since.
Many people, in India too, are openly flouting the lockdown guidelines and risking not only their, but the lives of countless others. While people are supposed to venture out only for very essential services, some are doing so only to experience how it feels to be the only person walking or driving around. They are considering the fight against Coronavirus to be a joke, and therefore weakening India’s resolve to combat the pandemic.
On Tuesday, about a 100 people gathered in Rajasthan’s Sarwar for a religious congregation at a Dargah, in complete violation of the lockdown guidelines. Police were forced to use mild force to disperse the obstinate crowd.
In Bengaluru, over 1900 vehicles were seized on Wednesday for plying on roads. The police said that the vehicles would only be released after the lockdown period was over. “This is not an April Fool’s prank. Two/four wheelers are banned from use till the 14th of April. We will SEIZE your vehicle if you CEASE to ignore this lockdown regulation,” tweeted Praveen Sood, state’s DG & IGP.
On Ram Navami, hundreds of devotees flouted the lockdown rules and gathered in several temples of Bengal, completely ignoring social distancing norms. The same could be seen in Maharashtra’s Shirdi.
Meanwhile, police personnel are also being physically assaulted for trying to enforce the lockdown on people who don’t want to be shut indoors. Whether it be Gomtipur in Gujarat or Madhubani in Bihar, the police was attacked with stones and bullets for doing its job, allegedly by Tablighi members.
Similarly, horrifying scenes could be seen from UP’s Muzzafarnagar, where police personnel were brutally attacked and beaten when they tried to disperse a crowd which had gathered in complete violation of the lockdown.
The horrible news is coming from Morna area of Muzaffarnagar in UP where Police personal are seriously injured and admitted to the Dist. hospital.
Police went to disperse the villagers who were gathered there & violating the Lockdown norms.
Villagers in turn attacked on police. pic.twitter.com/qQw8Pepqwt
— Syed zaki Ahmed (@syedzakiahmed_) April 1, 2020
If Philippines can issue shoot at sight orders only because some poor people protested against the government, Indians should be very worried. For the actions of some of us have been shameful, to say the least. As such, it is only imperative for the government to take such radical measures to tame those who have absolute disregard for public health and safety.
Looking at the instances of violence which have emerged against health workers and police personnel, it is about time that Indians start taking the lockdown seriously. For we are on a very short leash, and the army would eventually need to be called in for enforcing the lockdown in its truest sense.