Police personnel in Delhi extend helping hand amid COVID crisis

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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) When the family of a six-month-old baby tested positive for COVID-19 here on May 9, Delhi Police Head Constable Rakhi, a mother of two, took it upon herself to safely handover the infant to his maternal grandmother who lives in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) Rakesh Chaudhary, posted at the Lodhi Road crematorium, decided to postpone his daughter's wedding that was scheduled for May 7 in order to help families of COVID-19 patients perform the last rites of their loved ones.

As death and desperation engulfed Delhi amid the raging second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past few weeks, the city's police personnel went beyond the call of duty to extend a helping hand to those in need.

Like Head Constable Rekha and ASI Chaudhary, many of their colleagues have risen to the challenge.

On Thursday, Sub-Inspector (SI) Prakash Meena along with his staff performed the last rites of an elderly man who died at his Jangpura Extension residence due to age-related ailments, police said.

The man, Mahender Singh, was unmarried and lived alone, they said.

'When our staff contacted Singh's nephew, who stays in the USA, he conveyed his inability to come to Delhi to receive the body due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation. The autopsy was conducted in AIIMS and he tested negative for coronavirus,' Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) R P Meena said.

Prakash Meena along with his staff performed Singh's last rites at the Hazrat Nizamuddin cremation centre with his family's permission, he said.

SI Akashdeep donated plasma to a 27-year-old COVID-positive woman who was 21 weeks into her pregnancy and undergoing treatment at a hospital in Uttam Nagar, the police said.

Posted at Roop Nagar police station of north district, Akashdeep expressed his willingness to donate plasma for the woman's treatment and reached the ILBS hospital on May 10. Later, he himself handed over the plasma to her husband, they said.

The staff of Uttam Nagar police station on Wednesday performed the last rites of a COVID-positive woman, Mamta, 45, on Wednesday after her relatives refused to cremate her.

'On May 6, we received a call informing us about a woman suffering from coronavirus lying unconscious in her house in Uttam Nagar. SI Manish immediately reached the spot along with his staff,' Deputy Commissioner of Police (Dwarka) Santosh Kumar Meena said.

The woman was admitted to the Guru Govind Singh Hospital. Later, she was admitted to the Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital, where she died during treatment on Tuesday, he said.

The woman's relatives were informed but none of them came forward to cremate her, he added.

Then the police staff took on the responsibility and she was cremated at the Kali Basti Shamshan Ghat on Wednesday, the DCP said.

A report has also been sent to the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Dwarka, he said.

Mamta is survived by her 14-year-old son, who is mentally unsound. He was sent to Child Care Home in Lajpat Nagar and later admitted to the IHBAS hospital with the help of an NGO. He is now undergoing treatment there, the police said.

Risking his life, SI Chaudhary is helping families of COVID-19 patients perform the last rites of their loved ones at the Lodhi Crematorium.

'On a daily basis, there are 20-30 bodies of coronavirus patients that we help cremate here,' Chaudhury said.

Over the past month, he said, he has helped cremate 1,300-1,400 bodies, including many COVID-19 patients.

The father of three was posted at the crematorium on April 13, when the city had just begun to witness a sudden spike in coronavirus cases and deaths, and crematoriums found themselves overwhelmed by the large numbers of bodies coming in.

Not willing to take time off in such a dire situation, Chaudhary postponed his daughter's wedding that was scheduled for May 7.

Head Constable Rakhi, posted in Shahdara district, came to the rescue of a family living in GTB Nagar here. All family members except a six-month-old infant had tested positive for COVID-19 and there was no one to look after him.

The family's relatives, including the infant's maternal grandmother, live in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh but could not travel to Delhi due to lockdown in the city.

After Rakhi learnt this from a colleague, she immediately contacted the baby's parents after permission from her senior officers. She took custody of the infant from his parents and handed him over to his paternal grandmother who lives in UP's Modi Nagar.

Throughout their journey, Rakhi took care of the baby and even fed him like a mother, a senior police officer said.

Asked if she was afraid at any point in time since the baby's family had tested positive for COVID-19, Rakhi said, 'I was not worried at all. After all, the baby had tested negative and if you take all necessary precautions, there is no need to worry.

'I am myself a mother of two children, so I could understand and relate to the pain and worry of the child's parents. Moreover, as a police officer, it is our duty to serve people.' Amid a shortage of oxygen in Delhi, South district's Greater Kailash police station has arranged two big oxygen cylinders and is distributing the life-saving gas to those in need.

Station House Officer (SHO) Ritesh Sharma said they are receiving distress calls regarding the requirement of oxygen.

'We are trying to make available all emergency services to the residents. Our personnel wait for hours in queues to fill oxygen cylinders in different parts of Delhi and NCR to further supply the gas to needy people,' he said.

'Besides, we are trying to arrange food and medicines,' he said.

As of Thursday, Delhi's COVID-19 caseload stood at 13,72,475 and the death toll at 20,618, according to official data. PTI AMP/NIT NIT DIV DIV

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