It was cute at first but now it's just cringy. Even as Indians face hardships every day, police across cities seem to be busy moonlighting as cake delivery persons.
Since the beginning of the nationwide lockdown designed to fight coronavirus, police forces across the country have been playing hot and cold with citizens, showering batons on some while delivering sweetmeats to others.
On Thursday, yet another instance of birthday celebration happened as "corona warrior" cops in Delhi delivered a cake for Olympic boxer and sitting BJP MP Mary Kom's little son Prince. Not just one cop or two, an entire team of uniformed men and women arrived at the MP's residence in Delhi to make the day a special one for the family.
It isn't just Delhi Police. Cops in Punjab, Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and other states have previously made headlines by delivering cakes to little girls and boys and bringing cheer.
Meanwhile, migrant workers across the country continue to face hardships as they walk for days on end with minimal food and water.
Images of children hanging on their tired fathers and mothers, or clinging to luggage as they make their way to different states and railway stations have become routine.
Fourteen migrant workers were killed this week in separate road accidents in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh while walking home. Just last week, 16 migrants were run over by a train after they fell asleep on tracks after walking for hours. As per a report in The Wire, 69 people have been killed due to rail or road accidents while walking home since lockdown and over 300 have lost their lives due to the impact of the lockdown. While state governments have made arrangements for those walking, many claim they were unable to receive any supplies sent by the government or were unaware of the schemes made available to them. In several videos by reporters and journalists, some migrants even claim that cops do not help them but instead ask them to leave, even beat them, if they see them crowding.
Domestic violence against women has been on the rise. State women's commissions from several states as well as emergency helplines and NGOs from several states including Punjab and Delhi have registered a manifold increase in complaints of domestic abuse. With victims and potential targets stuck at home with their abusers. The Delhi government's Childline India helpline number received as many as 92,000 calls on domestic abuse in just 11 days.
Pregnant women have lost their unborn children because hospitals refused to admit patients for fear of coronavirus. Reports of hospital negligence have surfaced from various states where pregnant women have been refused treatment for fear of coronavirus. A nine-months pregnant woman from MP walked 196 kilometers in six days to reach Gujarat. Another walking from Maharashtra to MP gave birth to her child enroute and walked 150 km more.
Fake news and Islamophobia have been on the rise. Many have been targeting others on the basis of religion and community and even firing Muslim employees, putting up anti-Muslim signage or discrimination.
The men and women, as well as many others, need far more assistance from the police than perhaps a privileged MP, who could very well have cakes and supplies delivered to her home via food delivery apps instead of using up police resources.
There is no doubt that police forces across the nation have done a commendable job throughout the pandemic including risking their lives on a daily basis and at personal cost and sacrifice. Some cops have even played good samaritans by bringing food supplies to those in need. The crisis, however, has left thousands impacted and despite the government's efforts, many continue to suffer due to lack of implementation of schemes and apathy.
Now is the time the country needs its police more than ever to help it not only in maintaining law and order but also upholding the dignity and rights of the citizens that they are sworn to protect.
There are 'essential workers' who are delivering food. They can deliver cakes too.