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CAPFs seek live WhatsApp location from troops on leave, working from home to prevent COVID-19 spread


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The paramilitary forces have directed that 'live location' of all officers and jawans allowed to work from home or on leave should be obtained daily to prevent the spread of COVID-19 after two positive cases were reported among them, officials said on Monday.
Border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has taken a lead and directed all team heads a few days back to undertake this exercise daily and submit a compliance report twice to the headquarters in Delhi at 10 am and 4 pm.
In a directive accessed by PTI, the force has ordered that a senior officer designated for the task should every morning give a call to all personnel allowed to 'work from home' or on leave and subsequently ask them to send their 'live location' over the latest WhatApp group especially created for this purpose.
"This is aimed to check that none of the personnel misuse their leaves and stay at homes. This is important as it will not only help in strict enforcement of the ongoing lockdown declared by the government but also save the vital manpower of these fighting forces from contracting coronavirus," a top Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) commander told PTI.
All supervisory officers have been asked to check the WhatsApp live location provided by their subordinates with the house addresses furnished by them in official records, he said.
He said while no such case of violation has been detected till now but the intelligence and vigilance arms of these about 10 lakh personnel strong forces have reported that misuse of official ID card, uniform or government-issued vehicle by force personnel to visit their homes or family members during the leave period can take place, and hence checks need to be deployed.
"The snoop wings indicated that the police forces manning check posts in the city and at borders may not strictly check official force vehicles or allow those in uniform or carrying ID cards. Some erring personnel can misuse this authority," the commander said.
All CAPFs have been asked this WhatsApp-based data on a daily basis, he added.
The paramilitary forces comprising the ITBP, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) are also known as CAPFs.
They work under the command of the Union Home Ministry for rendering a variety of internal security tasks and border guarding.
Counter-terror force National Security Guard (NSG) has also been brought under the same order and directed for compliance, officials said.
A BSF officer posted in Tekanpur in Gwalior and a CISF head constable deployed at the Mumbai international airport have recently tested positive for coronavirus that has claimed thousands of lives and infected lakhs across the world.
In the case of the BSF, at least 50 personnel have been sent to home quarantine as the infected officer attended at least two meetings and carried out official work for some days. His wife had returned from the UK sometime back but was tested negative.
The officer was himself in-charge of managing affairs of a special quarantine centre created at its academy in Tekanpur to treat COVID-19 patients.
These forces have also circulated a declaration form amongst the personnel to report if any of their family members have returned from abroad in the recent past or they have come in touch with someone who is infected.
This measure is also aimed to ensure that any such individual can been immediately be isolated or quarantined and his medical tests are conducted, officials said.
"Strict disciplinary action will be taken against any officer or jawan found violating these two latest directives on grounds of jeopardising the health of his healthy colleagues who are part of an armed security force under the Union of India," the commander said.

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First Published: Mar 30 2020 | 3:36 PM IST

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