LUCKNOW: Two women standing in a queue to procure their chunk of ration were allegedly assaulted by a sub-inspector in Sector 19 of Noida on Saturday afternoon, prompting the authorities to initiate action against him and order his immediate suspension.
Departmental proceedings have also been initiated against the policeman, according to the district police.
Tanuja, 32, mother of four, works as a maid in a residential society of the area. She has the responsibility to feed her family as her husband Ashok, 40, an auto driver is sitting idle at home for the last three months due to lockdown.
Tanuja had been standing in the queue since 8 in the morning waiting to get the slip from the shop to get her share of 5 kgs of ration – rice and chana.
Instead, she was hit by a cop using a baton for allegedly flouting the norms of the social distancing.
"What will I do, if my limbs get broken in this lockdown. I am waiting for my turn to come when a crowd from the other side rushed and the cops started cane charging,” she narrates her plight with teary eyes.
Same is the story of 50-year-old Gujhiya Devi of Bihar who is living in Noida for the last 30 years. She received police beating in her leg and was limping to the PDS shop to procure her share of ration.
A video of the incident wherein the cop was beating up women standing in the ration queue surfaced on social media. The cop is shown beating the two women even as no female personnel could be seen at the spot.
Responding to the video, the Gautam Buddh Nagar police tweeted, "Preliminary investigation has established the veracity of the incident. Sub-Inspector Saurabh Sharma was immediately suspended and departmental proceedings have been initiated."
However, the plight of this section of society multiplies as the Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) also object to their queuing up and leading to crowding in front of societies fearing the coronavirus spread.
They had allegedly written to NOIDA DM urging him to get the ration distributed somewhere near to their dwellings.
However, the cops of the area claimed that they forget the norms of social distancing and start crowding at the shops.
"So we have to use mild force to arrange them to ensure social distancing," said a constable on patrol duty.
The government of India might have eased out the rules for ration distribution by facilitating national portability of ration cards during the COVID-19 driven lockdown but people are still facing challenges while procuring ration at public distribution shops.
Long serpentine queues can be seen on the ration shops and people braving the sweltering heat of May often become victim of cops’ anger who use force to enforce social distancing without the consideration of gender and age.