Problem of crowd control continued to plague Assam Police during the 21-day nationwide lockdown against COVID-19 pandemic as police had to restore to firing in the air to disperse a mob on March 28.
After avoiding penal steps against violators on the first couple of days, police and other security agencies have now started enforcing relevant punitive sections against offenders and making arrests.
The firing incident happened at Bhawlaguri market near New Bongaigaon Railway Junction when a few teenage boys gathered in a market in the morning hours to open their shops. However, no one was injured in the firing.
A video of the incident has surfaced in local media, wherein some teenage boys were seen pelting stones at the police team, who had arrived at the area to enforce lockdown. In retaliation, the police fired in the air to disperse the crowd.
A similar incident of pelting of stones on police was reported in Chapar in Dhubri district, where six arrests have been made so far in connection with the incident.
In Hojai, health department workers were reportedly assaulted by a home-quarantined youth when they came to check on him.
Crowds to buy essential commodities were reported in various parts of the state, including at Guwahati, Jorhat and Karimganj, despite repeated appeals by the government to maintain social distancing and ban on opening any markets.
As police started to adopt punitive measures against violators, 241 arrests have been made so far in the state and 126 cases registered.
Altogether Rs 1.99 lakh in fine has been realized, while 391 vehicles detained.
Meanwhile, the state government has decided to issue gratuitous relief materials for seven days to the daily wage earners like rickshaw pullers, labourers etc. living/stranded in the urban areas as per the norms of Assam Relief Manuals.
The state level task force daily meeting, chaired by Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna, further directed that the production units of bread, biscuits, packaged water, rice mill, chira mill, flour mills will continue production with minimum staff maintaining social distance.