On Monday, the Goa State Human Rights Commission (GSHRC) issued notice to the state government on a plea filed by social activists Kashinath Shetye, Dr. Ketan Govekar, Arthur Dsouza, Desmond Alvares, Inacio Domnic Pereira, Narendra Chodankar and Ramchandra Manjrekar. They have objected to the deployment of two Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) battalions to enforce the lockdown in Goa in the wake of the novel coronavirus crisis. As per the petition, it has been alleged that the ongoing humanitarian crisis was being viewed as a law and order problem. Maintaining that the citizens were going out due to constantly changing announcements about supply of essential commodities, the petition hinted at the possibility of “uncontrollable civil unrest” if hungry citizens were subjected to “disciplining”. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Goa has recorded 5 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus until now.
Goa Human Rights Commission issues notice to state govt on petition objecting to deployment of CISF to enforce lockdown.— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) March 30, 2020
A day earlier, some videos showing the CISF personnel allegedly beating people with sticks and making them do frog jumps had gone viral. However, Goa CM Pramod Sawant defended his government’s decision to deploy the CISF. He stressed that the CISF was pressed into service to maintain law and order in the state and not to punish people.
Observing that many people were leaving their house unnecessarily, he noted that the CISF would help rein in youngsters going on joyrides on two-wheelers during the lockdown period. He also clarified that the CISF had not been requisitioned from outside the state. According to Sawant, the personnel had been drawn from the CISF unit stationed in Goa. On March 29, the Goa CM revealed the contact details of the shelter homes for the needy.