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Zigzag barricades, drones help cops enforce lockdown

Kolkata: A new method of putting up barricades — in a zigzag formation and one behind the other — helped cops stop a fleeing car at Ultadanga crossing in the morning of the first total lockdown in September. The special barricade was set up after a sergeant was injured last month when a car had broken the normal barrier and hit him. In this case, though, the driver made no attempt to flee once it reached the Hudco Crossing barricades.
According to police, the incident took place between 6.50am and 7am at Ultadanga crossing. “We were checking each car. One of our constables had raised his hand and flagged the vehicle to stop. But, it ignored his signal, overtook a car and moved towards Maniktala. At Hudco crossing, it confronted the zig-zag barricade. The driver claimed he had missed the hand signal. But, he could not come up with a reason why he was on the road on a lockdown day. He claimed he had to pick up a relative,” said an officer. The case was handed over to Maniktala police. “We challaned the car and a case under relevant sections was recorded against him at Maniktala police station,” said an officer.
The action-packed start to the day continued for several hours. While only 88 people needed to be prosecuted in the morning till 8 am — it is usually high on other days — the number of prosecutions reached 277 in the next two hours. The final arrest figure till 8 pm stood at 775.
“We had to fly drones in Rajabazar-Narkeldanga. The area witnessed two fires and we could not help a few people spilling on to roads. The number of prosecution against those not wearing masks stood at 107 in the first four hours. It almost doubled in next two hours,” said an officer at Lalbazar.
The subtle change in operations like introducing a more scientific barricading was done after two back-to-back incidents on EM Bypass where cops got injured trying to stop a biker and a businessman. A third incident of cop being hit was reported from Ultadanga.
On Monday, many people were asked to go back home. “Those who broke lockdown with full intention, were told that they would get a notice from court soon,” said police.

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