We shall overcome
The past few months have been hard for all of us. The corona virus pandemic, and the multiple lockdowns to combat it, have tested our will and resolve to the utmost, and may continue to pose a challenge for some time to come. All I can say now is that tough times invariably strengthen character, and I believe we will emerge from the ordeal with our morale intact, and our hearts full of hope.
Under the guidance of our Honorable Chief Minister, Kolkata Police has had its work cut out during the past few months. Apart from our routine duties, it was also our job to make sure that lockdown guidelines were being followed, social distancing norms maintained, and other safety measures adopted as and when needed.
However, KP has always believed in going beyond the call of duty in the service of the community, and the past few months were no different. Merely enforcing a lockdown would have been meaningless if we couldn’t also make sure that none of our fellow citizens suffered because of it. And so our teams roamed the length and breadth of the city, serving cooked food and dry rations to the needy and the homeless, ensuring that the elderly and ill weren’t deprived of essential supplies and medication simply because they couldn’t step out, and reaching out to those who live away from the city, in case they had family here who needed help. We also started a series of blood donation camps to make sure the city’s blood banks didn’t run dry during the lockdown. But our attention was not limited to humans only. Our tireless officers made sure the city’s stray animals didn’t go hungry when there was nobody to feed them, and our efforts were richly rewarded with warm appreciation from our fellow citizens.
It was that appreciation which gave us the strength to strive night and day, well beyond normal duty hours, as we fought shoulder to shoulder alongside our citizens. Along the way, we also took on the responsibility of spreading awareness about the virus to encourage people to stay at home. And apart from the usual publicity strategies, we tried some innovations too, our officers using their multifarious skills to great effect as they staged musical performances in various neighborhoods, much to the residents’ delighted surprise. The dimensions of our relentless efforts were such that they found a mention in a photo gallery of The New York Times’.
As the lockdown seemed to be drawing to a phased closure, and with people beginning to look forward to a gradual relaxation, came Cyclone Amphan, one of the most devastating storms to have hit Bengal in living memory. In a matter of hours, trees in several thousands were uprooted in the city, power and phone lines were snapped, and entire neighborhoods marooned.
Despite the already existing workload, Kolkata Police was immediately at the forefront of relief and rescue operations, clearing roads, restoring traffic, and helping shift the injured to hospitals. So, as I said at the outset, we have been through some difficult times together, and not all those challenges have disappeared. However, I am confident that we shall overcome them, and even more confident that as always, our citizens will stand by us, as we stand by them. I urge all of you to remember, tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Stay careful, stay safe, stay healthy.
Anuj Sharma, IPS
Commissioner of Police, Kolkata