For Old City, lockdown and pandemic mean nothing

Mohammed Hussain

Hyderabad: After MA & UD Minister KT Rama Rao’s visit to COVID-19 Containment Zones on Thursday pushed the police to toughen the curbs on people’s movements and enforce social distancing stringently. In spite of several appeals made by ministers, higher authorities, police and health care officials, harebrained people paying no heed to social distancing in the Old City of Hyderabad.

The authorities tightening of the lockdown in several parts of the New City including Mallepally, Asif Nagar and Nampally, did not in any way affect the attitude of the people staying in Old City, specifically particularly close to ‘containment zones.’

Two days of visits by the reporter in the containment zones of Old City, there appeared no visible change among people even near red zones where the maximum number of people tested positive for coronavirus. People in Talab Katta, Sultan Shahi, Mir Chowk, Darulshifa, Shah Ali Banda and Eidi Bazar are moving out and about without any worry in the world.

Moreover, Minister KTR has also asked the police to bookcases against those who disregard social distancing norms and loiter around the city.

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Upon asking the police department whether they have booked any cases, they mentioned that they have been regularly seizing vehicles and booking cases against lockdown violators under 188 IPC, section 3 of the Epidemic Disease Act and section 51-Clause B of the Disaster Management Act 2005.

“Police officials are only booking cases against the motorists at check posts but people here in the Old City are loitering around by foot for no reason and cops will not stop them. Minister KTR and other higher authorities should visit Old City too,” Mohammed Ahmed, a bystander near Talab Katta.

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From morning till evening, Old City’s streets are bestrewn with vendors, street hawkers, grocery shops operating in containment zones termed as ‘hotspots’ for a maximum number of cases reported. Even women in large numbers are venturing out of their homes to shop as much as they can ahead of Ramadan.

Though police have barricaded the main roads connecting towards Talab Katta, people are still taking alternate short cuts as this area’s residents are popular for their ability to navigate patle patle galiyan (narrow bylanes).

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