Lockdown in Capital: More people, more chaos mark fifth day | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 19, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:34 AM, April 19, 2021

Lockdown in Capital: More people, more chaos mark fifth day

Despite an alarming surge in Covid-19 deaths, people continued to defy restrictions on movement as a higher number of people and vehicles were seen on the streets in Dhaka on the fifth day of the weeklong "strict lockdown", enforced by the government from April 14 to contain the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile at a checkpost, an altercation took place between a doctor and police team on Elephant Road when the law enforcers asked for her identity card.

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The video of the incident was doing rounds in social media.

Yesterday, the number of private vehicles, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws were higher than the previous days as garments factories, banks and organisations providing emergency services resumed operations after weekly holidays.

Rickshaws were seen dominating the roads as the movement of people increased.

Tailbacks were seen on Uttara-Banani-Mohakhali and Rampura-Badda roads. Police were busy controlling traffic, which was not seen in the last four days.

Around 10am, a congestion was seen from Uttara to Banani with hundreds of private cars, covered-vans, auto-rickshaws and motorbikes moving slowly in front of Radisson Blu Dhaka on the Airport road.

A senior official of Dhaka Metropolitan Police's Uttara Traffic Division said vehicular movement increased because of office-goers yesterday.

On some roads in Dhaka, including Mirpur Road and Kakrail, traffic police were seen manually controlling vehicular movement.

Like the other days, the alleys remained crowded as many shops other than groceries and pharmacies were operating their businesses. Many had their shutters half-closed.

On the main roads, police were seen checking people's movement pass and ID at different points.

POLICE ALTERCATION WITH DOCTOR

On Elephant road, police yesterday stopped a car carrying a doctor who is an associate professor of the radiology and imaging department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

A photojournalist of this newspaper witnessed the incident.

The doctor had her medical apron on while the car had a "doctor" sticker.

The on-duty policemen first wanted to see her identity card. She said she did not have it. There, executive magistrate Sheikh Mamunur Rashid asked whether she had any movement pass.

She angrily replied that doctors do not need a movement pass.

"Amidst coronavirus, how many doctors gave their lives? And how many of you did that?" she asked the policemen.

As the altercation proceeded, the doctor introduced herself as a daughter of Showkat Ali Bir Bikram.

The magistrate and New Market Police Station's Officer-in-Charge SM Kaiyum said they too were sons of freedom fighters and asked if that mattered in this situation.

The doctor, who was identified as Syeeda Showkat, said, "Harassment of doctors must be stopped… must be stopped…"

The policemen replied that they just wanted to see her ID and were doing their duties.

During the argument, the doctor also used slang words. At one moment, she rang some "influential persons" saying that she was calling their "boss".

"Who am I? You will get to know within a few moments," she said.

The New Market Police Station OC said, "Okay, you make us understand. You cannot humiliate me. I am from the administration. I am in uniform."

The doctor replied, "You are police because you didn't get a chance in medical. I am a doctor, because I got the chance."

"Police stopped my car. How dare they?" then she told someone over the phone.

Later, she told the magistrate that she was a daughter of a Bir Bikram. "I am a doctor. Am I a fake? He [The New Market Police Station OC] must say sorry."

The OC refused to comment on the issue.

Contacted, DMP denied to make any official comment as it may offend the doctors' community.

However, in its official page, Bangladesh Police, sharing the video of the incident, said some people were engaging in altercation with police while asked to show ID cards.

To verify someone's identity, they must show their ID cards. It's not possible to confirm anyone's identity by their dresses.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Syeeda Showkat said police harassed her suspecting as "fake" even after she got a permission paper from BSMMU and her apron bearing a seal of the institution. It's an insult to the doctors' community, she said.

Earlier, allegations were raised against policemen of harassing doctors and journalists at checkposts.

In a statement, police defended their actions in two incidents, saying at Karwan Bazar checkpost, the doctor was not inside the car during the incident while at Jahangir Gate, the citizen failed to show his ID card.

Police Headquarters spokesperson AIG (Media) Sohel Rana said people involved in emergency services in 18 categories like doctors, nurses, medical staff, journalists, and bankers do not need to carry movement pass. They (emergency service providers) have to carry their work ID cards with them, he added.

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