Kolkata Police personnel, angry over their deployment in city areas where they claimed that the chances of contracting COVID-19 were high, allegedly gheraoed and damaged the vehicle of an officer of the force on Wednesday, prompting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to reach the spot and assure them to look into their demands.
Over 500 personnel of the Kolkata Police Combat Force are protesting at the Police Training School complex on Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Road since late Tuesday night.
Sources said they gheraoed the vehicle of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Combat Battalion, Col Nevendera Singh Paul, when he tried to initiate a dialogue with them and vandalised his vehicle.
"We are being sent on duty to high-risk areas. There are several policemen who have been infected with the virus. This cannot go on," an officer of the combat force told PTI.
Banerjee, who is personally monitoring the situation arising out of Cyclone Amphan, stepped out of her vehicle ignoring high winds and a drizzle, and spoke to the protesting policemen.
"I assure you that after Cyclone Amphan gets over and the coronavirus situation eases a little, I will personally come here, look into every detail and plan how to keep you and your families healthy. I will come here and talk to you personally.
"Please keep in mind that during our time (her government's tenure), I personally look into the treatment of a constable if he falls ill. I also make sure that they are getting the best of the best medical facilities.... I had even arranged for airlifting a policeman for medical assistance," she told the agitating policemen.
Stating that she took care to provide a job to the next of kin of a policeman if he lost his life while on duty, Banerjee, who is also the state home minister, said, "Rest assured, the government will do everything for your good."
She said the government is aware that several policemen have fallen ill due to COVID-19 while on duty during the pandemic.
"The government has announced a life insurance for COVID-19, which also includes the police force. We have also announced an insurance of Rs one lakh for those falling ill due to the disease and I have given instructions to disburse the money to the victims. We must not forget about their needs and that they should have a proper schedule," the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo said.
The agitating policemen urged Banerjee to look into their demand for changing the deputy commissioner.
When contacted, a senior Kolkata Police officer said a probe has been launched to ascertain the facts.
"An investigation is underway. There can be disappointment among the policemen regarding the duty schedule, but no acts of indiscipline will be tolerated," he said.
At least seven policemen have so far been infected with COVID-19 in West Bengal.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)