Delivery boys are in a state of fear over threats of cases, paying fines or arrests following the detention and arrest of more than 100 delivery boys by the police in Dhaka city.
The delivery boys came into the police dragnet while they were performing their duties during the strict lockdown even though food deliveries are exempted from lockdown restrictions.
According to the popular e-commerce platform Daraz, 110 of its delivery boys have been accused in cases or arrested by the police during the recent strict lockdown.
However, senior police officers said the policemen were not taking any measures against delivery boys as the service is outside the purview of lockdown restriction. Usually, police overlook the activities of delivery boys.
Iftekharul Islam, an additional deputy commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, told The Business Standard, "I have no information regarding the detention of food delivery boys. We have not received any such complaint."
However, the situation at the field level does not support what the officer has claimed.
Shamsul Alam, a CNG auto-rickshaw driver of Prakritik Krishi Biponan Kendra, claimed he had been delivering food for one year through CNG auto-rickshaw and did not face any problem from the police on the road. But during the strict lockdown, two cases were filed against him while he was on his way to deliver food to a house.
Safiya Aziz, sales manager of Prakritik Krishi Biponan Kendra, told The Business Standard, "The police on Tuesday filed cases against our CNG driver while he was delivering food in the Elephant Road area. The police claimed that home delivery is not allowed by using private CNG auto-rickshaws, but there are no clear directives about it in the government instructions related to movement during the lockdown."
"Police charged our driver under Section 92 (1) of the traffic act, which is generally applied by the police against drivers who run vehicles on the wrong side, not wearing a helmet and carrying more than one pillion passenger on a bike," she added.
Regarding the case, Mohammad Selim, a traffic inspector of the New Market zone, told TBS delivery boys can deliver food and necessary goods through using any kind of vehicle.
He said he would look into the matter and try to find out why the police had filed a case against the CNG autorickshaw driver.
On condition of anonymity, a Daraz delivery boy told TBS he was going to his office to take a food parcel for delivery. The police detained him at the Mohakhali check post. They were not convinced by his identity card and asked for a delivery slip which he would get only after going to the office.
The police did not trust him and fined him Tk200, he added.
Daraz Bangladesh Chief Operating Officer Khondoker Tasfin Alam said Daraz is continuing its delivery of essential products in the strict lockdown as per government directives.
"There might have been some sporadic incidents of our delivery boys being detained and cases being filed against them," he added.