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Coronavirus pandemic | Why was Section 144 imposed in Mumbai till May 17

Given the situation in Mumbai, which is the worst affected by coronavirus outbreak in the country and has reported maximum deaths due to COVID-19 also, the Mumbai Police decided to impose Section 144 till May 17.

May 05, 2020 / 08:34 PM IST

The Mumbai Police on May 4 imposed Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) in the city to ban public gatherings. There has been no official communication clarifying why the prohibitory orders were introduced in the city, but it is believed the mayhem that followed the opening of liquor shops triggered it.

While announcing the extension of the lockdown in several parts of the country till May 17, the Ministry of Home Affairs also introduced several relaxations to allow limited activities, such as opening standalone shops, allowing liquor sales, etc.

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There had long been demands from several quarters for liquor shops to be reopened. When the Centre finally gave the nod for the same, people thronged shops in large numbers to hoard as much possible. Not only did this amount to unbound chaos, but several reports suggested that social distancing norms were flouted rampantly.

Given the situation in Mumbai, which is the worst affected by coronavirus outbreak in the country and has reported maximum deaths due to COVID-19 also, the Mumbai Police decided to impose Section 144 till May 17.

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This means that till the time the third of the nationwide lockdown is in place all public gatherings in the city will be banned. Moreover, the movement of one or more persons would only be allowed for medical reasons or to procure essential supplies. Violating the orders will be a punishable offence.

The other reason behind the imposition of Section 144 could be to prevent mass protests from stranded migrant workers, such as the ones being witnessed frequently in Gujarat – another state where the deadly virus has spread at an alarming rate. A similar incident had taken place in Mumbai’s Bandra last month too, after the lockdown was extended beyond April 21 to May 3. Such gatherings pose a high risk and are potential COVID-19 hotspots, which can worsen the coronavirus situation in the state further.

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Jagyaseni Biswas
first published: May 5, 2020 08:34 pm

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