In Focus

Now, CAPF takes charge of Mumbai's worst-hit areas

By Vedika Jain

On 20 May 2020, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel conducted a flag march in South Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar area to ensure strict implementation of the lockdown imposed to help curtail the spread of COVID-19 in Mumbai. The CISF and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had to be air-dashed to the state to help bide over the COVID-19 pandemic wherein Maharashtra remains the worst affected state in India.

CISF personnel conducted a flag march in South Mumbai's Bhendi Bazaar area on 20 May 2020
And, in Maharashtra, Mumbai and Pune have turned into volatile hotspots recording record numbers of Coronavirus infections on the rise every day. The Mumbai Police's inadequacies to control human and vehicular movement, despite the national lockdown, have led to a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 infections in the city. The CISF and CRPF companies have been deployed in some of the most severely affected areas of Mumbai.

In Maharashtra, the state police force, itself, has recorded the highest number of infections. Till the time this report was filed, the two-lakh strong Maharashtra Police force had 1,388 positive cases with Mumbai Police having recorded more than 700 positive cases of which 10 have succumbed to the infection. The numbers are alarmingly high in the neighbouring police forces of Thane, Pune City, Nashik, etc.

Last week, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said Maharashtra police have been working "day in and day out" to control the spread of Coronavirus in the state. "The festival of Eid is also around the corner, and proper law and order has to be ensured. The police should get some rest for that. Hence, we have requested the Centre to deploy 20 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF), that is 2,000 personnel."

To stem to the rot, the CAPF has deployed five companies of 500 personnel from the CISF and the CRPF in Mumbai. According to reports, CAPF companies sent by the Centre have been deployed in the state in multiple areas including Mumbai, Pune, Amravati and Malegaon. The Mumbai Police PRO maintains, a total of five companies of the CISF and CRPF have been deployed in Mumbai as follows:

Areas designated to the CISF companies in Mumbai:
Zone 1: Colaba to Marine Drive (Dongri, Nagpada, Bhendi Bazaar)
Zone 3: Tardeo, Nagpada, Worli to NM Joshi Marg (Sewri, Lalbaug, Parel, Agripada) 
Zone 9: Bandra to Amboli (Andheri West) (Bandra, Nirmal Nagar, Behram Pada)

Areas designated to the CRPF companies in Mumbai:
Zone 5: Dharavi to Dadar (Worli, Dharavi, Mahim, Kurla)
Zone 6: Chembur to Mankhurd (Chembur, Govandi, Mankhurd, Shivaji Nagar)

Squads of 100 personnel each armed with their shields, batons, weapons and protective gear have been manning their designated areas. The companies will monitor the situation and assist the local police in maintaining law and order.