Police in India reveal device to detain coronavirus lockdown violators without contact

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Authorities in India have debuted a unique device meant to detain those who are not cooperating with a coronavirus lockdown while maintaining social distancing.

The police department in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh shared a video Saturday on Twitter of a drill using the apparatus.

“VIP Security wing of Chandigarh Police has devised this unique way of tackling non-cooperating corona suspects and curfew breakers," tweeted the director-general of the Chandigarh Police, Sanjay Baniwal.

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In the clip, a group of uniformed police officers can be seen standing next to a flat-bed truck.

One of the officers extends a lengthy hand-operated metal trapper device, and locks it around the body of a man. The officer then guides him to the back of the truck.

The device appears to resemble a claw-like grabber that many use to pick up trash.

Police in the Indian city of Chandigarh will use a contraption they say will be used to capture “non-cooperating corona suspects and curfew breakers” while maintaining social distancing.

Police in the Indian city of Chandigarh will use a contraption they say will be used to capture “non-cooperating corona suspects and curfew breakers” while maintaining social distancing. (DGP Chandigarh Police via Storyful)

Reaction to the video poured in on social media, with some praising police while others argued the device dehumanizes people.

“Has Chandigarh Police gone mad? How can they do this to a human being? Utterly shameful," tweeted Man Aman Singh Chhina, a Chandigarh-based journalist for the Indian Express.

Another journalist, Pavneet Singh Chadha, the crime correspondent for the Hindustan Times, described the behavior as “deplorable” and said police were treating people “like cattle.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a strict nationwide lockdown to fight the spread of COVID-19 on March 24. The restrictions, which run until May 3, have been eased somewhat by allowing shops to reopen, and manufacturing and farming activities to resume in rural areas.

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Despite the lockdown, many violated the rules and ventured out on the roads.

Policemen stop a woman from entering a containment zone during lockdown in Hyderabad, India, April 14.

Policemen stop a woman from entering a containment zone during lockdown in Hyderabad, India, April 14. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

On a Sunday radio talk show, Modi cautioned the country’s 1.3 billion people against any complacency in the fight against coronavirus, saying that people will have to change their habits by sticking to social distancing, wearing masks and not spitting in public.

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“There should be no negligence at any local level due to overconfidence," he said. “We have to be very careful about this for a long time to come.”

A Kashmiri man wearing protective gear crosses a barricade in an area declared as red zone by the government during lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir,  April 14.

A Kashmiri man wearing protective gear crosses a barricade in an area declared as red zone by the government during lockdown in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir,  April 14. (AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)

He also said that a traditional system of Indian medicine, known as Ayurveda, which strongly recommends yoga exercises and drinking hot water, can be extremely helpful in building immunity.

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As of Tuesday, there are 29,451 cases of COVID-19 in India with at least 939 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.