With the Punjab Government having ordered fresh restrictions following the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, the Punjab Police has fanned out in the field enforcing the various newly announced restrictions, including night curfew and number limits on gatherings in public places and homes as well.
The Police have registered at least 130 First Information Reports (FIRs) against the violators of COVID-19 norms across the state in the last 24 hours.
The Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had on Monday, clamped down with stricter curbs including extension of night curfew timings by one hour (8pm to 5am), closure of all bars, cinema halls, gyms, spas, coaching centres, sports complexes, with restaurants and hotels to be opened only for takeaway and home delivery from Monday to Saturday besides banning the gatherings of more 20 persons including for weddings/cremations. The CM had directed the Punjab Police to ensure strict enforcement of the COVID restrictions.
Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab Dinkar Gupta said that the joint teams of Punjab Police have booked around 189 owners of Marriage Palaces, Malls, Hotels, Restaurants etc for flouting the night curfew timings and gathering limits since April 18, 2021.
Divulging details regarding the action against prominent establishments, Spokesperson of Police Department said that the Bathinda Police have registered a case under the Indian Penal Code and The Disaster Management Act against the Manager of Civil Lines Club Bathinda, the Caterer and the hosts for organising an Engagement Party having more than 20 guests, while, the Tarn Taran Police have booked owners of Hotel Sunstar for COVID-19 norms violations. Recently, the SAS Nagar Police had arrested nine people, including a hotel owner in Dhakoli, for organizing a rooftop party at Grand Suites Hotel in the night with huge gathering and had also booked the owner of AKM Marriage Palace for holding a function with more than 20 persons in violation of Covid guidelines.
Similarly, the owner of Palm Plaza in Barnala was fined Rs 10000, Orbit Resort in Fazilka penalised with Rs 5000 and Sangam Palace in Abohar challaned Rs 10000 for violation of COVID-19 guidelines, and their Owners and Managers would also be booked and arrested soon.
Notably, the Patiala police have registered a maximum of 45 FIRs, including 35 against shop owners, five against Restaurants, four against Dhabas and one against Protestors for violating COVID-19 norms in last 24 hours followed by 17 FIRs by the Jalandhar Commissionerate Police.
The DGP said, as part of the drive to book and arrest persons found violating the safety protocols & Covid restrictions, the Punjab Police have persuaded over 20241 Face Mask violators to undergo RT-PCR testing and challaned as many as 2199 people found without face masks during the last 24 hours. Since the special drive was started from March 19, 2021, the Punjab Police have taken over 4.1 lakh people for COVID-19 testing besides fining as many as 71422 people across the state for not wearing face masks.
DGP Dinkar Gupta said that to check the gatherings around the Marriage Palaces, Hotels, Malls etc the Punjab Police have laid around 400 special nakas across the state. Police will enforce a zero tolerance policy against those found violating the number limit of 20 and 10 relating to social and other gatherings, he said.
Appealing to the public to strictly adhere to safety protocols, curfew restrictions and timings and leave their homes wearing face masks only, the DGP reiterated that the COVID testing and challaning drive will continue to keep the people of Punjab safe from the virus. He added that Open Air Jails are being set up soon in all districts for the violators.
Meanwhile, the DGP has also warned of stringent against rumor-mongers who are spreading panic by spreading rumours and fake posts regarding COVID-19 on different social media platforms.