Are Janatha containment zones democratic?

In Karamana, a residents’ association barricaded   an area with over 60 houses fearing Covid spread. District authorities say citizens must not take matter into their hands

Published: 12th August 2020 07:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2020 07:14 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The pandemic has definitely created a lot of panic and apprehension among the public. But is that any reason to take the matter into their own hands? Recently, a residents’ association in the capital city took an extreme measure in this regard.  After a few Covid-19 positive cases were reported from their area, the residents declared it a ‘Janata containment zone’. Though this may have been done in good faith, the district administration is concerned as other communities replicating this would lead to major law and order issues.

The residents association voluntarily came forward and declared an area covering nearly 62 houses on Sankara Subbaiyer Street (SS Street) in Karamana a containment zone, after six Covid-19 cases were reported. “Considering how this is a global pandemic, the public should become more responsible and realise the gravity of the situation. Around six people including a maid who goes to many homes in the locality tested Covid-19 positive. Following this, an executive committee meeting was held and we decided to declare the street a containment zone. There may be disagreements but this is for the larger good,” said Padmanabhan S, president of the residents’ association. 

There are around 180 houses in the association’s jurisdiction. “We want to set an example for residents wanting to do their bit without waiting for the government to act. We consulted the ward councillor and availed help from police to put up barricades. The families are allowed to go out only twice a day,” said Padmanabhan. 

Ward councillor Karamana Ajith said that this is a model initiative and the district administration has drawn flak in the past for declaring containment zones unscientifically. In his press meet, Chief Minister Pinarayi Viajayan applauded the efforts of Karamana residents, adding that such initiatives will be integrated under the acivities of Janamaithri police.

District authorities seem unhappy
However, officials at the district administration are not thrilled. They said that the public has no right to decide such matters that restrict the fundamental rights of citizens. “We saw it in the news and would have taken action if we had received any complaint from residents of the area. The police and health authorities have been vested with the responsibility of taking such decisions. This is more like declaring a bandh. We strongly advise the public to strictly follow the instructions from the police and the health authorities,” said the official. When contacted, police officials commented that the residents’ association came forward voluntarily and police have  no involvement in this.


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