Squats and sticks

Police officers were seen using batons and forcing people to do squats as punishment on the streets of Patna, capital of Bihar, on Sunday for violating the coronavirus lockdown. In the state of Bihar, 85 people were sent to jail and 3,615 vehicles were impounded.

"Our country is going through a disaster that is coronavirus. This disease is very fatal and contagious and that's why our administration, the police, is being very strict with us. They are even beating the people who are loitering on the road, so please try to understand the situation, they are doing it for our safety, for our security, so try to be safe and stay inside your houses", said Pallavi Sinha, a social worker from Patna.

To impose a nationwide lockdown, India has invoked section 144 of its penal code, which forbids the assembly of four or more people in public. Indians who defy the measure can be detained and arrested, but the government hasn't authorised the police to use force to ensure people follow the rules.

India is in the middle of a 21-day lockdown and all non-essential shops are closed. The country 1,071 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths so far.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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