Covid Warriors: 12 per cent of police force afflicted with virus in line of duty in Jharkhand

RANCHI: Combatting a massive second wave in Covid cases in the tribal state, Jharkhands men in Khaki have turned out to be true “Covid-19 warriors” – right from lending help to citizens get oxygen and beds to enforcing restrictions to contain the deadly surge and maintaining law and order.

Jharkhand is passing through a corona crisis with mortality rate as high as 1.37 per cent against the national average of 1.10 per cent, recording over 4,000 deaths and it is here that the state police force has come forward to help span the manpower crunch.

“As many as 7,343 of our policemen out of an over 59,000-strong police force has been afflicted with the virus in the line of duty,” Jharkhand Director General of Police, Neeraj Sinha told PTI.

Sinha himself was afflicted with the virus and has recovered recently.

The DGP said of the Covid-19 affected police personnel, 6,578 have recovered and rest are under treatment.

“Sadly, we lost 30 of our personnel despite extensive and regular sanitisation in the entire police establishment right from police stations to police lines and barracks. A high-risk job entails high-risk exposures,” he said.

The police force is ensuring compliance of various government directives to control the pandemic and enforce compliance of Covid-19 appropriate behaviour, he said.

“With such high exposure to crowds, it is very difficult for many of our personnel to go back to their family as it will increase risk to their families. Many have isolated themselves from their families,” Sinha said.

Asked about constraints faced during these difficult times of pandemic, Sinha said there have been many instances where the force had to face stiff resistance while ensuring Covid-19 appropriate behaviour from a crowd and at many places faced attacks.

A drive has been undertaken to impart awareness among people.

More than 4,000 hoardings to create awareness have been installed by the Jharkhand police.

It has also set up about 245 barriers to check people and ensure Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

With the state facing a crisis, there have been several instances where police personnel actively ensured beds, oxygen and ventilators to people in need.

Besides special drives were carried out to prevent hoarding and black marketing of essential medicines and items.

To keep the forces moral high “two deputy superintendent rank officers have been specially deputed to monitor the condition and the health status of all covid positive police personnel and their family members through one to one direct contact, he said.

The control room ensures that affected police personnel and their family get medical care besides handling other issues like food arrangements, medicines etc.

At the district level, he said, similar arrangements have been made.

Jharkhand will also be roping in some 300 ex-army personnel in managing Covid-19 patients and ancillary services needed to combat the pandemic, Chief Minister Hemant Soren had announced on Monday.

Jharkhand on Wednesday reported 103 fresh fatalities, pushing the toll to 4,085, while 4,365 new cases raised the tally to 2,96,895 during the last 24 hours.