The Kerala police are exasperated, trying to explain to sections of people to not step out during the nationwide lockdown imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the officials stop such vehicles and enquire the reasons that prompted people to step out of their house, the excuses they get have probably left them stunned.
“Some people come out in the morning to buy just half a kilogram of tomatoes. Then another person comes out in the afternoon to buy half a kilogram of sugar. In the evening, around 4.30 pm, a person gets out to buy an ice-cream… Is it some joke?” Inspector-General of Police Vijay Sakhare told Manorama news channel.
Kasaragod District Police Chief PS Sabu also had something similar to share. "Some of the reasons we heard on Wednesday were to buy one kilogram of potatoes or half a kilogram of sugar. These are just some excuses to step out of the house,” he told Asianet News.
Speaking to the media, a female police officer in Kerala said, “We have been noticing a pattern. People stepping out of their houses at 10 am or earlier to buy milk. And then they return home. By afternoon, they step out again to buy vegetables or other groceries. Just because all of these are essential items, you cannot step out all the time to purchase them.”
The officials across the districts could be seen reprimanding such people. “People should buy essentials that will last them for three to four days. We will not let people use such reasons for namesake to step out, barring for emergency purposes. Such violators and their vehicles will be seized,” Sabu said.
Apart from the lockdown, section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which prohibits the gathering of more than four people, has been imposed in several districts.
In several places, the police were seen placing barricades, stopping vehicles on busy stretches, taking away the keys of some motorists and checking the identity cards of those travelling to work for essential services.
“It is not only a matter of the lives of these violators. Our lives and others, too, will be affected,” said IG Vijay Sakhare.