Hyderabad: Swiggy, Zomato delivery staff beaten up, fined ; though exempted from lockdown

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  22 May 2021 12:00 PM GMT
Hyderabad: Swiggy, Zomato delivery staff beaten up, fined ; though exempted from lockdown

Hyderabad: Despite food delivery services being exempted under the current lockdown guidelines, the Hyderabad police on 22 May detained and beat up several delivery executives for food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato. Their vehicles were seized and they were forced to walk for miles to reach their homes. A fine of Rs 1000 was imposed against each delivery staffer.

Besides e-commerce services, many volunteers rending a helping hand were as well stopped. A few who were on their way to donate blood, medicines and food to patients undergoing covid treatment were as well stopped.

The unofficial crackdown on the food delivery executives began immediately after the relaxation period ended at 10 a.m. This unannounced action in different parts of the city unfolded as the Telangana DGP M. Mahender Reddy was touring the city inspecting the lockdown enforcement. On one hand, the DGP was stating that only those activities and services exempted during the lockdown as per government orders will be allowed, and on the other hand his men were seen attacking delivery executives with lathis across the city.

According to sources, the police decided to strictly implement the lockdown after Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao reviewed the lockdown situation in the state in Warangal on Friday. All activities allowed till Friday were suddenly stopped on Saturday without any prior information.

The police said while no orders were issued in this regard, they have received clear instructions from the top brass to implement lockdown by all means and use all resources at hand, which indirectly indicated using force also. Backed by these instructions, the police went on a spree. The effect was seen more fiercely at Mehdipatnam, where a large number of vehicles belonging to the delivery executives were seized. After being caned and with no vehicle, they were forced to walk back to their homes. Some of them had to walk till the other side of the city.

The Telangana GO mentions that e-commerce services (delivery of goods, medicines and food) is exempted from the lockdown ending 30th May, 2021.

Meanwhile, the police also forced kitchens partnering with Swiggy and Zomato to close down with immediate effect so that no orders can placed on these apps. This has led to cancellation of many food orders and those who had ready placed one, had to wait for hours.

The police blamed the delivery executives for misusing the exemption and moving around even when they were not working. They said that most of the youngsters who were arrested were impersonating delivery executives. Some of them had left their job during the lockdown in 2020 and but had kept the Swiggy and Zomato merchandise. They were now using them to move around during the lockdown, the police said.

On Friday, Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar had tweeted, "Alert for 22.5.21 till 30.5.21. Many people are not serious about Lockdown. They are exposing society to the Corona threat by casual movements on the road. This is a warning that we will be very firm from 22 May. After 10 am do not come out of your house."

He had also issued a warning to the public. "Warning: If you break Disaster Management Act and Lockdown, your vehicle will be seized. From 10 am onwards only Medical emergency and Health related vehicles will be allowed," he had tweeted.

Hyderabad MP and Asaduddin Owaisi appealed to the Telangana DGP to allow the staffer ( exempted from the lockdown) to work.

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