People who violate COVID-19 rules may face "attempt to murder" charges, the Assam Police said on Wednesday, as the state government announced new protocols to curb the alarming rise in coronavirus cases in the state.
Urging people to strictly follow all the provisions of the new Standard Operating Protocols or SOPs, Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said that if anyone is found violating the rules they will face the strictest of actions including an "attempt to murder" case.
"Violating the government's orders and SOPs, if anyone or any organisation organises any function or any event, it would be treated as a betrayal against the society. In that case, we would not apply the simple IPC (Indian Penal Code) or provision of the Disaster Management Act, strictest law would also be applied against them," Mr Mahanta said.
"Attempt to murder case like charges would be brought against those organising any function, party, get-together or any kind of gatherings," the police chief added.
"No crowding would be tolerated in public places, shopping complexes, markets. Police will resort to lathi charge in such cases even during the curfew relaxation period," he said.
Mr Mahanta said that containment zones will be dealt with zero leniency.
"If anyone tries to use COVID-19 excuses to come out and is found violating the SOPs, they will be put into jail," the senior IPS officer warned.
The Assam government on Wednesday ordered all offices, religious places and weekly markets to be shut for 15 days in urban and semi-urban areas of the state, besides banning the movement of people from 2 pm to 5 am in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases.
Issuing a new set of guidelines in the periphery of 5 km of municipal areas, Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua said all standalone shops and commercial establishments shall shut down at 1 pm on all days. There shall be a total ban on the movement of individuals from 2 pm to 5 am daily.
"A complete lockdown is an option, but we are going gradually in a phased manner. We hope these measures will work in the next two-three days," he said at a news conference. The new restrictions will come into effect from Thursday.
Weddings and religious functions will be only private affairs and be allowed with the presence of a maximum of 10 people and no reception parties will be allowed after or before weddings.
All public transport will be allowed with 30 per cent of seating capacity, while auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws, taxis shall operate with one driver and two passengers only.
"Pillion riding will be totally prohibited in two-wheelers except with women and children," Mr Barua said.
For the rest of the state, all restrictions announced earlier such as night curfew from 6 pm to 5 am with a total ban on movement of persons at public places on all days will continue, except for those engaged in essential and emergency services.