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Roll back full lockdown, it's being used to 'brutally' assault, beat people: PUCL to Modi

By Our Representative India’s premier human rights organization, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), in a 3,600 word statement, has demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in consultation with chief ministers, should immediately consider rolling back of the full lockdown in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, insisting, if it all, India should “have calibrated, limited lockdown areas.”
Wanting that the Government of India (GoI) to do this by taking people into confidence by evolving “a transparent method” to determine the regions and areas where the lockdown can be lifted totally or partially, PUCL regretted, the lockdown measures are being enforced “by using police power and prosecuting people for breaking the curfew-like conditions imposed on people.”
Pointing out that “the entire country witnessed sights of policemen brutally assaulting and beating people found out on roads and streets”, suggesting a clear “breach of power and abuse of law”, PUCL said, there is “repeated promulgation of sec 144 CrPC prohibitory orders as a means of enforcing the lockdown” in a “completely unaccountable manner”.
“To illustrate”, the PUCL statement, signed by Ravi Kiran Jain, president, and Dr V. Suresh, general secretary, said, “The latest statistics from Rajasthan show that there have been 8,162 preventive arrests with 1,152 FIRs being registered during the lockdown period. Over 2,000 people have been arrested and over Rs 2.7 crore has been collected as fines under the Motor Vehicles Act.”
Worse, it said, “Most state administrations have used the context of the Covid pandemic and crisis to warn citizens, especially medical personnel, from criticising state policy or questioning claimed progress in the spread of corona virus or questions of plight of medical personnel fighting the corona virus pandemic with poor personal protective equipment (PPEs).”
At the same time, PUCL said, there is an attempt to “criminalize” of rights activists by persecuting them, stating, “Over 1,000 rights defenders have been arrested, particularly in states like UP and Delhi, for demanding greater relief in their areas or questioned blatant attempt to communalize and target Islamic communities as being responsible for spread of coronavirus in India.”
India’s food grains stock is over 87.19 million metric tonnes, sufficient to meet the needs of the entire Indian population for over a year
Noting that Modi announced the lockdown on March 24 without taking people into confidence, leading to a situation where livelihoods of the crores living reached an “edge of economic marginalization”, PUCL said, the field situation a month later turned “explosive”, with “millions of poor, marginalised and unemployed Indian confronting the reality of acute hunger and starvation both in rural and urban India because of loss of livelihoods.” 
Estimating that approximately 13 crore plus people have been stranded as a result of the lockdown, PUCL said, "With meagre earnings and still less savings, without getting their monthly wages  hundreds of thousands of migrants and their families panicked, staring at an economic collapse, outsiders in other states, with almost none or little economic or social security programmes."
It continued, "Most of the migrants to north India from Bihar, UP, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal found that they were not permitted to cross state boundaries. Thus effectively lakhs of migrant workers were stranded in localities which were closed down", adding, the situation became worse because of "lacking safety in existing labour laws regarding minimum wages, safety, working hours and other social protection labour laws."
On top of this, PUCL lamented,“With hospitals focusing only on the corona virus, government hospitals and PHCs have not been able to address existing ailments and health needs of people including to keep open OPDs, or tend to pre-natal care, TB medication, vaccination programmes and so on.”
Asking the Government of India to ensure food security for all by making the public distribution system (PDS) universal, even as providing guaranteed employment benefit for all rural and urban poor, PUCL, citing a report, said, “India’s current food grains stock is over 87.19 million metric tonnes of cereals (rice and wheat), 3 million tonnes of pulses, 1.1 million tonnes of oil seeds and 4 million tonnes of sugar, all sufficient to meet the needs of the entire Indian population for over a year.”
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