Tribune News Service
Pathankot, May 21
When Pathankot SSP Deepak Hilori is quizzed what will happen in the future, his stock reply is “We all are blind and sailing on the same leaking boat.”
Before the lockdown kicked in, the officer remained busy managing the routine affairs of the department. Now, the mundane has been relegated to the back burner. The nature has forced upon him new duties like asking people to maintain social distancing, wearing mask and extending a helping hand to his colleagues in these taxing times.
The officer feels that viruses do not respect borders. “It is high time we put aside our egos and do what is necessary to limit, or even, halt the damage. The nature is revolting to reclaim its kingdom. If we cannot make peace with her now, what is the point of existing?”, he says.
As he speaks, he gets a call from an SHO awaiting instructions on how to deal with farmers not practising social distancing in the grain market. “Deal with them with kid gloves. A few rough words from you could trigger off tensions. Try to tell the farmers that whatever we are doing is for their benefit,” he urges his officer.
Hilori believes that every single reduction in the number of contacts a person has per day with others will have a significant impact on the ability of the virus to spread. “This strategy saved thousands of lives during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and, more recently, in Mexico city during the 2009 flu,” he says.
The officer opines that strange things are happening in strange times.
“At a time when corona panic has the potential to wreak havoc, the abiding message from the literary depictions of plagues and pandemics is that the only solution is not every man for himself, but a collective response of universal brotherhood. The irony is that even as the practical response is to close borders, the long-term solution is coming from people banding together, fighting the virus across borders with Chinese doctors, Israeli labs, American scientists and Australian production techniques. The virus is actually testing how well we can collaborate across borders even as we try to shut them down. And, if nothing else, it also reminds us that another way forward is possible—teleconferencing and Skyping instead of the arduous exercise of criss-crossing the globe. That might not be a bad thing for our beleaguered planet,” he maintained.
He is again disrupted by a call. His subordinate informs him the decks have been cleared to send back 1,200 migrants to J&K who were stranded in the city following the curfew.
“We made certain these people were taken care off. Now it is time to wish them adieu. The J&K government has agreed to take them back,” he says with a relief writ large over his face.
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