With Community Kitchen Initiative, Meerut Cop is Winning Hearts

A cop in UP’s Meerut is winning hearts as his thana is reaching out to the needy with community kitchen initiative.

2 min read

Video Editor & Producer: Mohd Ibrahim

As a nationwide lockdown was announced to curb the coronavirus pandemic, on 24 March, a thana (police station) in UP’s Meerut district came up with an initiative to aid the marginalised.

SHO Vijay Gupta’s brainchild, of converting the thana into a community kitchen, is not only yielding results, but also winning hearts across Meerut.

“Since the lockdown began, a meeting had been convened by our seniors, expressing concerns about daily wage labourers and rickshaw pullers, as to where will they eat. And so, it was decided that, as per directions from the SSP, that anyone can pitch in. That inspired me to start a community kitchen at our thana, so that people get to eat.”
Vijay Gupta, SHO

Other police personnel at the Sadar Bazar thana came forward to help with funds and that’s how Gupta kickstarted his daily practice, of distributing food packets to the needy in the area. This community kitchen is now catering to around 1,000 persons daily.

Some local samaritans are also helping the initiative by contributing money, so that rations can be bought on a daily basis.

Gupta’s phone is flooded with distress calls these days, as UP has witnessed a huge influx of migrants returning to their hometowns following the shutdown of factories in Delhi and neighbouring states. Due efforts are being made and resources are deployed accordingly, to identify genuine beneficiaries.

“Government vehicles at my thana and police personnel were enlisted for help. We get calls which help us identify families. Food packets are distributed accordingly.”
Vijay Gupta, SHO

UP police in certain districts has been at the centre of controversy as men in khaki were seen allegedly misbehaving with migrant labourers. A video of a cop in Budaun asking workers to hop on their feet had gone viral recently.

Gupta has a message for his colleagues, of adapting a ‘humane approach’ at the time of crisis:

“I would like to tell everyone that this is a crisis situation and we should have a humane approach. Even while acting strictly, we mustn’t forget to be humane.”
Vijay Gupta, SHO

(With inputs from Ravi in Meerut)

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