In video clips that have emerged from Karnatata's Bagalkote district, men in defence uniform can be seen patrolling on motorcycles along with the local police and punishing those violating the lockdown enforced to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
In one of the videos from the district's Terdal Taluk, a man who is carrying a 20 litre water bottle on his motorcycle is made to military press it repeatedly as punishment for not wearing a mask. In another video, a person is made to do sit ups, holding his ears, outside what seems to be his home.
These men in uniform are reportedly on vacation and have volunteered to help enforce the lockdown without prior permission of their respective commands. It is not clear which unit they belong to.
After villagers and some civil authorities complained about this patrolling, the Superintendent of Bagalkote has assured action.
"They are soldiers from various Forces who are on leave who were volunteering with village panchayats for non-policing work. However, they're not permitted to do policing and patrolling which we have warned them against strictly," said Lokesh H.J, Superintendent of Police, Bagalkote.
In contrast, last week, about 150 kilometres from Bagalkote, a commando of the anti-Maoist CoBRA unit was chained at a police station after he was caught without a mask in violation of coronavirus precautions. The commando, who was in civilian clothes and on leave at his hometown Belagavi, alleges he was beaten up, handcuffed and made to sit on the floor.
Karnataka has seen 512 coronavirus cases so far and 20 patients have died. 193 people across the state have recovered from COVID-19.