• Pranjali pawde

Talk with a real corona warrior; Constable Praveen Upadhyay

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

The front-liners in this battle are the strong standing Police force. While Police have the responsibility to ensure the maintenance of law and order, they are constantly exposed to large troops of people without safety kits. Their troubles and duties do not end here! Police are also held responsible for maintaining the public order of the migrants. I had the opportunity to interview one such police officer who is constantly serving and protecting people on roads as well as railway stations. A young and passionate police officer can see the world differently. After training in many parts of India, Mr. Praveen has now been working in Katani for more than a year. Mr. Praveen Upadhyay is soon-to-be a father, but that hasn’t stopped him from fulfilling his duties and responsibilities. Mr. Praveen talked about his experience as police personnel in ongoing situations.

Q. “Please enlighten us about your roles and responsibilities in these tough times.”

I am properly appointed at the Railway station in Katani district. My team’s major responsibilities include enforcing social distancing, medical health checkups, and protocols of the migrant workers at this very point in time. You’ll be surprised to know the number of people that have migrated back to Katani via trains. The arrival of people hasn’t stopped and we are trying to follow and enforce the guidelines between everybody. Everyone’s safety is our priority!

Q. “Are safety kits allotted to all the front-liners?”

We do have quite a few, but not enough. We are working with whatever tools that are provided to us and not every one of us has all of the needed ones. Gloves, masks, PPE kits, or face masks are really important and for that, we are raising voices but it’s still in process. The limitations of safety guards also limit our observation for people and that is the main reason that we sometimes fail to stop those who choose to run away.

Q. “What are the problems that your team is facing due to migrant’s arrival?”

Many migrants are returning from cities and respect the checking procedure and co-operate with us, but others are terrified of the possibilities and do not co-operate. Surveying such a huge number altogether is a bit of an issue as we do not have enough police personnel appointed at the station.

Q. “What are the facilities for the quarantine period of these migrants?”

I would say we are well equipped. But as medical facilities here aren’t that good, we have to refer patients to Jabalpur at times. Quarantine spaces are dedicated to the railway station itself and many other wards are created at government places. Proper food and necessary supplies are being provided to the migrants. Our team and everyone else in our area is trying to do their best to keep the count of cases low. The cases in Katani are still in control and we would never risk increasing them!

Q. “Have you come across any unusual story in these tough times?”

Many! There is a poor man who comes to quarantine centers to distribute food. When I talked to him, he told me that he is a farmer and is trying to feed the needy. I can surely say he isn’t a wealthy person but definitely has a big heart. It was good to see someone helping others when maximum people are finding ways to avoid the quarantine areas. He brings cooked meals in boxes that were designed to carry sweets and distribute them within the center by himself. What an act of generosity!

Q. “What is your working schedule for now?”

The work hours aren’t fixed, but yes! whenever our services are needed, we are on duty. Our usual work timeline of 8 hours stays and can be increased as per the requirement but never gets decreased. The number of migrants is comparatively bigger than the number of policemen we have at the place, therefore extra-duty isn’t a big deal. We are the police, and the police are always ready to serve people!

Q. “Is there any particular procedure for a quarantine period?”

Not to all! There is no particular procedure of being quarantined after a period of duty but if a policeman shows any sort of symptoms or is found with close contact to any positive patient, they are immediately assigned to quarantine period.

Q. “During the lockdown, police have been granted liabilities to take action according to them. Do you think it was used in the right way?”

Yes of course! I can only see the good outcomes of our hard work. Civilians should appreciate and support the dedicated police force. My complete team stands in the scorching heat for the whole day, and I myself complete my duty, despite the fact that my pregnant wife is alone at home. We are hard-working people, and I can very confidently say that we have used the liabilities very well. Enforcement of rules is a tricky job, but we have always tried to be friends first and enforcers second.

Q. “It is a shame that civilians are behaving badly with police personnel. What is the condition at your place?”

Yes, it’s a shame. But in Katani, people are really very supportive. Some people fail to understand that we are doing so much only for their well-being and safety. The cases like hand slit in Punjab and stone-throwing in Indore, sadden me deeply. And I don’t think pointing fingers at any community is the answer. I feel pity for those who do such things, it’s their loss and moreover their mindset that is upsetting the society. People have to understand that we police officers aren’t standing in the heat or running miles just for the salary amount (which is not too much even); we are doing all of it for them, for our nation, for our love and care towards people of India.

Click here to read about other corona warriors and their thoughts!

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