As the coronavirus induced lockdown cripples the financial hub of the country, leaving lakhs of migrants and destitute reliant on hand-to-mouth survival in a state of quandary, a raft of individuals and several notable personalities have stepped up to the task of providing food and needs of daily essentials to such an underprivileged lot of people.
These individuals, popularly hailed as “corona warriors” along with the front-line workers such as doctors, nurses and others, are going on great lengths to aid the state and central government in mitigating the untoward consequences of coronavirus lockdown by providing food, masks, sanitisers and items of daily necessities to the needy ones who are worst-hit by the economic fallout of the rampaging contagion.
However, in many cases, these “corona warriors” are not being treated by the police and the law enforcement officials with the respect that they deserve. For their deed of selflessly helping the poor and the needy, they are pestered needlessly, deflating them from persisting with their altruistic pursuits.
In one such case, renowned environmentalist and lawyer, Afroz Shah, known for spearheading the world’s largest beach cleanup project-Versova Beach clean and who is also involved in activities meant to alleviate miseries of the poor and the homeless amidst the coronavirus lockdown, took to Twitter to express his disappointment with the Mumbai police.
Afroz has been tirelessly helping the migrant workers, providing them with juice, water and food and arranging for their transportation over some distance to partially reduce the hardship of walking to their destination amidst scorching heat. However, Shah was detained by the Mumbai Police for ferrying migrant workers to their destination in Mumbai.
Shah alleged that he was harassed for 2 long hours by Tilak Nagar police. Despondent by the harassment, Shah declared that he will be suspending all his activities directed towards helping the poor during the coronavirus lockdown.
Harassed for 2 hours by Tilak nagar police— Afroz shah (@AfrozShah1) May 19, 2020
Taken to the police station
Let off by saying please leave
Suspending all my activities to help the poorest of the poor
Sorry migrants – the system doesn’t allow me to work for you
Broken heart. Broken soul
I cry and I am in pain pic.twitter.com/jxWTuo9Ddf
Many netizens reacted to the treatment meted out to Afroz and condemned Mumbai Police for his mistreatment. BJP leader Kapil Mishra posted a tweet in support of the environmentalist, extolling him for helping the homeless and needy ones during the lockdown and denounced the Mumbai Police for maltreating and harassing him.
अफरोज शाह @AfrozShah1 के साथ महाराष्ट्र पुलिस का दुर्वव्यवहार बहुत गलत व निंदायोग्य— Kapil Mishra (@KapilMishra_IND) May 20, 2020
अफरोज काफी लंबे समय से लॉकडाउन में गरीबों की मदद का शानदार काम कर रहे हैं
मुम्बई की मीठी नदी और समुद्र तटों की सफाई का अद्भुत काम करते हैं
अफरोज एक #CoronaWarrior हैं@AUThackeray https://t.co/0Mg4Q4Ueqm
Others, too, joined in decrying the Maharashtra government and its leadership for detaining Afroz and hounding him unnecessarily.
It is pertinent to note that Mumbai has emerged as one of the most potent coronavirus hotspots in the country with the city’s tally of COVID-19 caseloads crossing 22,700-mark. In such a scenario, it is more important than ever that the Mumbai Police leverage the help extended to them by selfless individuals, celebrities and others in bringing the outbreak under control while also ensuring that the human cost of the crisis is minimised. By harassing individuals who are willing to lend a helping hand to those affected by the lockdown fallout, Mumbai Police only seems to be compounding its own problems.