“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius
The year 2020 has undoubtedly been one of the most vicious of years to humanity in recent times. The COVID-19 pandemic, which started from Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China, has shaken up the entire universe.
It is understated, to say the least, that 2020 was a nightmare for millions of Indians. During this tough period, only emergency services and our frontline warriors – doctors, policemen, essential workers, etc., worked round the clock to protect the people and minimize the spread of the virus. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, everything went downhill; the deaths of many make 2020 even more heart-rending.
The entire year proved to be very challenging for the Maharashtra Police. A heartwarming video that went viral during the pandemic tells the complete story of Mumbai and Maharashtra Police in 2020. In the video, a little boy was begging his father, a policeman, who was on duty, ‘to stay at home, because the corona is outside’.
Emerging as warriors in the fight against COVID-19, the police played a key role in strictly enforcing the rules during the lockdown. But the police had to pay a heavy price for this. Across the State, 312 police personnel lost their lives to the pandemic, and about 28,500 personnel were infected. Mumbai Police Commissioner, Param Bir Singh, told PTI, “We will always remember the sacrifices made by police officers in the fight against COVID-19 this year. We lost 98 police personnel just in Mumbai alone. This is a huge number. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten.”
Singh said his biggest commitment was to work continuously during the epidemic, but the police force faced many challenges. Before the outbreak, the police were busy handling protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Citizenship Registration Act. Hundreds of students and others protested at the Gateway of India on the night of January 6 after the attacks on students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. The cloud of the Shaheen Bagh agitation in Delhi had reached Mumbai as well. Moreland Road in the metropolis was turned into a ‘Mumbai Bagh’ protest site.
The incidents that followed were just the beginning. Yes, another distressing sight followed. After the country was put under lockdown in March to prevent the spread of the virus, millions of migrant workers from other parts of the country were stranded in Mumbai and other cities in Maharashtra. The police played a crucial role in providing them with food and taking care of their safety.
The crime rate dropped during the epidemic, but there was a flood of rumours on social media, which the police had to deal. The Cyber Crime Branch played a stellar role in catching the rumour mongers.
At the height of the lockdown in April, two monks and their driver were brutally beaten to death by a local mob in the presence of police personnel in Palghar district. This also drew strong criticism from the Maharashtra Police. The case was handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and 186 people have been arrested.
The death of Bollywood actor, Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14, shocked the entire country. Mumbai Police, while trying to protect the citizens from the pandemic; being on duty 24×7; having its personnel infected and affected by the virus, had to deal with this latest incident when they faced criticism due to the political controversy over the actor’s suicide. Bandra Police recorded the statements of several people in the industry, including Rajput’s girlfriend and actress, Riya Chakraborty. In October, Mumbai Police uncovered manipulation of television rating points (TRPs), including some TV channels. The police arrested 14 people, including two Republic TV officials, in connection with the case.
Alibaug Police arrested Arnab Goswami, Editor-in-Chief of Republic TV, and two others on November 4 on charges of abetting the suicide of interior designer, Anvay Naik in 2018. Goswami was released on bail eight days later by the Supreme Court.
Maharashtra and Mumbai Police have from time to time, proved to be more effective and trustworthy. They have shown their calibre in every situation. They have been a fine example for thousands of others. They showed the power of unity and truth and have stood tall facing every criticism they have been going through.
“2020 was a very tough year for the Maharashtra Police as they have been dealing with every challenge imaginable throughout the year. We have seen videos of policemen bringing to task lockdown violators which were criticized by people across the country. But if we care to look at the police’s action from their point of view, we know that these cops were performing their duty to stall the spread of the pandemic, which was affecting people on a large scale. They too could have stayed home with their families, but they were at the frontline for our safety. We should appreciate their efforts and salute them for their bravery.”
– Prakash Sharma, Journalist, Mumbai Headlines.
“More than 28,000 police personnel have been affected by the COVID-19 virus while performing their duty. These men were out helping lakhs of migrants who were stuck due to the lockdown. It would have been difficult for them to reach their hometowns and villages without their support. Policemen have always been criticized for being corrupt and inhumane, but their gesture during this critical period has changed the perception citizens have about them. I support the Maharashtra Police and also urge the people to support them and stand with them.”
– Rohit Jadhav, TCS Employee.
“When the pandemic hit the country, everything came to a sudden standstill. The only functioning bodies were government undertakings and our frontline workers – the police force, doctors, medical team, essential workers, etc. The work done by the Police Department during this tough period is commendable. Leaving their own families behind, they were helping others unite with their families across the country or helped them reach their home States. This was a sweet gesture by the State Police. They tackled the impossible situation like a strong man. The Men in Khaki should always be admired for their courage and sacrifices. We need them at all times as their absence will create chaos in the country.”
– Sidhi Saraf, Employee at a private firm.