As of Tuesday, total 14 police officials have lost their lives to Covid-19 across Bangladesh
Motaleb Hossain, a traffic police constable, was trying his utmost best to ensure social distancing and avoid public gatherings during the Eid jamaats at the Baitul Mukarram National Mosque on Monday.
He said: “There’s no celebrating Eid without family. However, I have become quite accustomed to this, performing my duties on an Eid day. But this time, because of coronavirus, I am not sure what Eid actually means.”
Just like Motaleb, more or less all the policemen across the country are dedicatedly carrying out their duties at the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic, ignoring the festivities of Eid.
Assistant Sub-Inspector Abdur Rahman and his team, like many of his colleagues, were conducting patrols at Dhaka’s Mintu road area on the second day of this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr.
He said: “This Eid has been colourless and challenging unlike ever before.”
Bangladesh Police is not only working hard to ensure law and order, but is also trying to stop the spread of this deadly virus by enforcing government issued health safety guidelines with round the clock efforts.
Unlike any other year, this Eid-ul-Fitr brought never before seen challenges and obstacles for Bangladesh Police as the whole system continues its fight against Covid-19, which so far has infected 36,751 and killed 522 in Bangladesh.
“We usually get very few days of Eid holidays as we have to work to ensure safety and service to the people. We celebrated many Eids being away from our families. Thus we have grown immune to the sorrow of this. I used to feel happy seeing people enjoying the occasion.
“I have been working in the force for 21 years. I have never seen the streets so empty and so little celebration on Eid day. This has happened due to the coronavirus pandemic. This makes me feel very sad,” said Abdur.
As coronavirus cases have been exponentially increasing in Bangladesh, police have been actively working 24/7 in the field, risking their lives, alongside health workers, including doctors and nurses.
This has resulted in police becoming the second-worst Covid-19 affected professionals in Bangladesh, with 4,053 of its personnel getting infected and 14 dying till now.
Talking to this correspondent, some police personnel said that around 40% to 50% of the police force get Eid holidays in regular years. But this time, due to the pandemic, all of them were on duty to protect the people.
They also said that thanks to technology, they can now talk with their families on video calls. Though they can't be there with them in person, they can at least see their loved ones with the help of the internet and this is how they are celebrating this year’s Eid while being out in the field working.
Contacted, Md Sohel Rana, assistant inspector general (AIG-media) at Bangladesh Police Headquarters, said: “Around 200,000 of our people are currently working tirelessly to ensure safety of the people. On one hand we have the pandemic and on the other hand we have the Eid, and thus things are very different this time. None of us were given any holiday leave as we are fighting the battle against Covid-19 from the frontlines.
“It was very challenging to manage and keep people safe as they rushed to their village homes to celebrate Eid without maintaining social distancing or obeying the shutdown.”
“It was not easy for us to ensure that Eid jamaats are not held in open spaces and also to avoid public gatherings.
“As for those who have valiantly given their lives to save people, we are keeping close contact with their families, and all necessary assistance is being provided to those who have been infected,” he added.