Instead of taking the usual route of prosecuting violators, the Delhi police on Sunday carved a new path by offering roses to those flouting lockdown norms and making them pledge that they will not repeat their actions.

In a special drive, police personnel distributed pamphlets, masks and gloves to sensitize those violating Covid-19 guidelines and make them pledge to follow them.

“Fines and prosecution will be continued, but for today, the focus will largely be on creating awareness,” an official said on Sunday.

Police personnel have also been instructed to not indulge in any kind of harsh behaviour with people. Instead, they are required to create awareness and educate violators through public announcement systems and placards.

“For a change, a non-coercive mode has been adopted today (Sunday). The emphasis is on educating violators and utilising them too in furthering awareness among the residents. Policemen are encouraged to adopt effective alternative means instead of issuing challans,” Delhi Police commissioner SN Shrivastava said in a tweet.

In the Shahadra district, police personnel have been asked to observe ‘no challan, only awareness day’, a special drive against Covid and curfew violations.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) R Sathiyasundaram said that only prosecution will not serve the purpose and the focus should be on educating the violators and creating awareness among them to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.

“With cases coming down, the government may lift the lockdown or ease it down with relaxations later. So people will start moving out eventually. According to experts, there is a possibility of a third wave which could be even more dangerous, so we need to create awareness.

“We won’t be issuing challans today (Sunday) and instead those caught violating norms, will be made to take a pledge, those without masks will be given masks and gloves. We are also distributing pamphlets to educate them and encouraging violators to sensitise others as well to strictly follow the guidelines,” he said.

According to data shared by Delhi Police, a total of 6,50,768 challans have been issued for mask violation till 4 pm on Saturday while 3,774 issued for spitting and 48,037 for violating social distancing.

The police said they have collected a total of 11 crores in fines last month for various Covid-19 violations, including spitting and social distancing violations.

Delhi lockdown extended

The move comes in the backdrop of the Delhi administration extending the Covid-induced lockdown by a week.

A lockdown was first imposed in the national capital on 19 April, which was later extended multiple times, lastly on Sunday.

However, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has said that the unlock process may begin from 31 May if fresh cases continue to show a declining trend.

The Delhi CM pointed out that although the battle against coronavirus has not been won yet, the positivity rate has decreased from the all-time high of 36% to 2.5%.

However, Delhi is continuing to show over 1,000 cases every day even now. Over 1,600 more people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.

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